CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Brevard County Manatees erased a six-run first inning deficit to defeat the Clearwater Threshers, 7-6 in extra innings in game one of Friday's doubleheader at Bright House Field.
With the game tied at six in the top of the eighth, Mike Garza grounded a single to center to lead off the inning. Brandon Macias then pushed him to second with a sacrifice bunt to first.
Following a walk to Nathan Orf, Garza was removed and Jose Sermo came in to pinch-run. That set up a matchup between Clearwater reliever Lee Ridenhour and Orlando Arcia.
The Manatees shortstop wasted no time in delivering the go-ahead blow. On the first pitch, Arcia grounded a single through the hole between short and third base. Herlis Rodriguez's throw to the plate was high and Sermo slid in safely to give Brevard County (30-29 second half, 66-59 overall) its first lead of the game, 7-6.
Manatees reliever Stephen Peterson, who had already thrown two scoreless innings to this point, retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning to close out the come-from-behind victory.
The victory marked the Manatees largest comeback of the year. Clearwater (27-34, 44-85) jumped out to a 6-0 lead against starter Taylor Williams (1-1, 4.05 ERA) thanks to a pair of three-run home runs by Art Charles and Chris Serritella.
Brevard County started its comeback trail right away by scoring a run in each of the next three innings. After a lead-off triple to right-center field by Michael Reed in the second, Victor Roache drove him home with an RBI single to left to trim the advantage to 6-1.
In the third, Macias started the inning with a double down the left field line. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Orf scored him with a sacrifice fly to center to cut the deficit to 6-2. Roache did all the damage for the 'Tees in the fourth with a solo blast onto the berm in left-center for his team-leading 16th home run of the year. All of a sudden, the Threshers six run lead was down to three.
After bending for three straight frames, the 'Tees finally got Clearwater starter Colin Kleven (6-9, 4.55) to break in the fifth thanks to some defensive miscues.
Macias got hit by a pitch to begin the inning and Orf followed with tapper to second. Jesmuel Valentin's throw to second base to get the force was a tad short. Shortstop J.P. Crawford could not hold the bag when he lunged for the ball and everyone was safe on the fielder's choice.
The next play resulted in a similar outcome when Arcia hit a ground ball to third. Harold Martinez fielded and threw on to second base to try and start a double play, but his throw was way wide and Valentin had to range for off the base to make sure the ball did not go into the outfield. Arcia was on board on the fielder's choice and the throwing error by Martinez and the bases were loaded.
Kleven lasted just one more batter. The 6-foot-5 right-hander walked Tyrone Taylor to bring a run across and which cut the lead to 6-4.
Left-hander Cody Forsythe emerged from the bullpen, but had trouble with his location. On a 1-2 pitch to Reed, the southpaw spiked a pitch in the dirt and it squirted away from catcher Gabriel Lino. Orf raced home from third and the other two runners moved up a base and Manatees were now behind, 6-5.
After Reed struck out, Roache came through with the game-tying knock. On a 1-0 pitch, Roache slapped a ball into shallow center field. Roman Quinn broke in, but had to field the ball on a hop. Roache's third RBI of the game scored Arcia and Brevard had rallied all the way back to knot the game up at six.
With game still tied, Clearwater had a chance to go out in front against Peterson in the sixth, but the savvy veteran put an end to the threat. After a pair of singles by Rodriguez and Quinn put runners at the corners with one out, the Danvers, Mass. native struck out both Valentin and Crawford to end the inning.
Peterson came away with his fourth victory of the year after three innings of shutout relief. The left-hander did not allow a run on two hits and punched out three without walking a batter.
Ridenhour allowed just one run on two hits and walked one over two innings, as he took his seventh loss of the season.
Kleven did not factor into the decision. He allowed six runs - four earned - on four hits and two walks in four-plus frames. The right-hander also struck out five.
Despite a six-run first inning, Williams held down the fort for Brevard County and kept them in the game. The 2013 draftee did not allow a run and prevented Clearwater from putting a runner in scoring position over his final four innings of work. The righty finished with six runs allowed on a career-high nine hits, walked two and whiffed five in the no-decision.
Three Brevard hitters recorded multi-hit games in the victory. Roache led the charge with a season-high-tying three hits, while Arcia and Macias each picked up a pair. Macias had four productive at-bats with a double, a single, a hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice bunt.
The extra-inning victory was Brevard County's third of the season. All three wins have come at Bright House Field against the Threshers. The first came on April 30, when Macias delivered the go-ahead base-hit in a 7-6 victory in 11 innings. Arcia hit a game-tying two run shot in the ninth and Alfredo Rodriguez drove home two in the 12th to lead the Manatees to victory in the second win on June 28.