VIERA, Fla. - In a game that was suspended for about a month and a half, the Brevard County Manatees cruised to a 13-4 victory over the Lakeland Flying Tigers in game one of a doubleheader on Tuesday night at Space Coast Stadium.
Brevard County's (33-30 second half, 69-60 overall) offense already started with an advantage. When the game was suspended after just 12 pitches on July 10 at Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium due to heavy rain, the Manatees had a runner at first and a 3-2 count on Orlando Arcia.
Once the nine-inning contest picked back up, the 'Tees pounced. Arcia singled on a hard ground ball to short and Tyrone Taylor followed with a line single through the hole between third and short. Nathan Orf, who singled to left to start the game back in July, came around to score to give Brevard the early lead, 1-0.
After Connor Harrell hit a two-run home run to right to put Lakeland (19-45, 61-70) in front, 2-1, the Manatees' offense caught fire once again. Alfredo Rodriguez stepped in against Lakeland starter Yorfrank Lopez (5-12, 5.04 ERA), after walks to Victor Roache and Parker Berberet sandwiched a fly out to left. The Oak Hill, Va. native lofted a ball down the right field line for a double to score Roache and tie the game at two. The next batter, Orf, would bring home Berberet with a ground out to short to give the 'Tees the lead back, 3-2.
The Manatees tacked on three more runs in the third. Taylor kick started the inning with a single and a stolen base and came across to score on an RBI single to left by Michael Reed. The onslaught continued, as Cameron Garfield roped one over the head of the center fielder Connor Harrell for an RBI double. Reed scored all the way from first to give Brevard a 5-2 advantage.
Berberet brought home the final run of the frame. With two outs, the Manatees designated hitter cranked a double into the right-center field gap to chase home Garfield and extend the lead to 6-2.
Lakeland scratched across a pair of two-out runs in the third and fourth on singles by Michael Thomas and Curt Powell to trim the Manatees' advantage to 6-4, but that is as close as they would get. Mike Garza singled home a run in the seventh to make it 7-4, Brevard County, but it was the five-run eighth that put the game out of reach.
With one out, Arcia reached on an error by shortstop Curt Powell and advanced to second on a walk to Taylor. Lakeland reliever Calvin Drummond could not find the strike zone against Reed either, as he walked him on four pitches to load the bases.
Garfield then made the right-hander pay. On a 2-2 pitch, the Florida State League All-Star slapped a bloop single into shallow right field. Arcia and Taylor came across to score, while Reed stopped at second to make it 9-4, Brevard County.
After the runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch and Roache struck out, Garza came through for the second time in as many innings. The former Georgetown Hoya grounded another single up the middle, this time it scored two. Reed and Garfield scored to extend the lead even further to 11-4.
That was all for Drummond. Lakeland decided not to burn its bullpen anymore and brought in first baseman James Robbins to finish the game on the bump. His relief outing did not go well, as Brevard County picked up its final two runs against the left-hander. Berberet hit a laser into right-center for an RBI double to cap off the five-run eighth and Arcia took Robbins deep in the ninth for his fourth home run of the season.
Five Manatees finished the game with multi-hit nights, while three of those five recorded multi-RBI games. Arcia and Taylor each tallied three hits and two runs scored in the lopsided victory. Garfield picked up three base-knocks and three RBI. Berberet went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBI and Garza went 2-for-4 with three driven in.
Jorge Lopez (10-9, 4.38) picked up the win for Brevard County in what was technically a relief appearance. The right-hander went six innings and allowed four runs on nine hits, walked one and punched out six. Hobbs Johnson got the start, because he was slated to begin the original game in July.
Southpaw Stephen Peterson was great again for the 'Tees in relief. In two shutout frames, he allowed just one hit and struck out four. Since August 6, Peterson has not allowed an earned run in his last six outings. Right-hander Tyler Spurlin came in to record the final three outs in the ninth to close out the win.
Lakeland's Lopez put himself in a tie for the FSL-lead in losses with the defeat. The Venezuelan native, who actually threw the first 12 pitches of the game back in July before the rains came, yielded six runs on nine hits over four innings. Lopez walked two and struck out three.