Josh Butler pitched six scoreless innings, and the Brevard County bullpen took care of the rest Friday night as the Manatees shut out Lakeland, 2-0. With the win, Brevard County has now won four straight games, and 14 of their last 16. At 15-6, the Manatees have opened up a three-game lead over second-place Clearwater in the FSL North Division.
Butler (4-0) continued his strong season, allowing just three hits and one walk to the Flying Tigers while striking out three. He is now tied for the FSL lead in wins with Darin Downs of Charlotte. Zach Braddock, John Axford, and Rob Wooten combined to allow just one hit in their three innings out of the bullpen, and struck out five. Wooten earned his sixth save in as many attempts, tying him for the FSL lead. He has allowed just one run in 9.1 innings, and has fanned 14.
The Manatees piled up 12 hits on Lakeland, but struggled to string together a rally. They pushed across the first run of the game when Sergio Miranda doubled to center field, scoring Lee Haydel. Zelous Wheeler also tried to score on the play, but was gunned down at the plate. The Manatees added their second and final run in the fifth inning, when Haydel roped a single to right field, scoring Eric Farris from second. Both runs were charged to losing pitcher L.J. Gagnier, who dropped to 1-2.
Miranda and Farris led the Manatee offense with three hits apiece. Miranda also had two doubles for the second consecutive game, while Farris stole three bases, giving him 12 for the season, second-most in the FSL. Haydel and Wheeler each added two hits.
The two teams meet again Saturday night. Mark Rogers (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will look to extend the Manatees' winning streak, as he takes on the Flying Tigers' Andrew Hess (1-1, 2.25 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.