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Brevard denied sweep of Palm Beach

May 23, 2013

VIERA, Fla. - The Brevard County Manatees dropped a 9-5 decision to the Palm Beach Cardinals on Thursday night at Space Coast Stadium, in a game that featured 12 runs in the first three innings and a rain delay of over an hour.

Brevard County (25-21) started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. T.J. Mittelstaedt walked to lead off the frame against Cardinals' starter Juan Bautista. With one out and Mittelstaedt on second, the newest Manatee, Mitch Haniger singled the left to put men on the corners. Haniger went 1-for-4 in his Brevard County debut.

Nick Ramirez then lifted a sacrifice fly to deep center field to plate Mittelstaedt and give the 'Tees the early lead. Cameron Garfield then crushed an RBI triple to right-center field to double the lead.

Palm Beach (18-28) responded with three runs in the top of the second inning on consecutive run scoring hits. After Matt Williams dribbled a ball into center field with two outs, Jesus Montero and Cesar Valera each hit RBI doubles. Nick Longmire then singled home Valera to give the Cardinals a 3-2.

The Cardinals' lead would be short lived however as Brandon Macias led of the bottom half of the second with a double down the right field line. Yadiel Rivera then singled to left field to plate Macias and tie the game.

Rivera advanced to second on the throw home and was balked over to third. Mittelstaedt gave Brevard County the lead right back with a sacrifice fly to center.

The seesaw battle continued in the third inning with rain clouds looming in the area. After 'Tees starter Jed Bradley walked the first two batters, Jonathan Rodriguez crushed a three-run homer to center field to give Palm Beach a 6-4 lead. Montero brought Willams home again with another two-out RBI hit that would end Bradley's night.

Bradley (3-2, 5.45) lasted just 2.2 innings and surrendered a career-high eight runs on eight hits. Matt Miller relieved Bradley and hit two consecutive batters and then walked Colin Walsh with the bases loaded to extend the Cardinals lead to 8-4. The fourth ball to Walsh was the final pitch before a 66 minute rain delay.

After play resumed, the team's traded runs. In the bottom of the seventh, Ramirez plated Mittelstaedt with an RBI single to right field, but that was as close as the Manatees would get.

Chad Pierce was the first man out of the bullpen after the lengthy rain delay. He pitched brilliantly as he allowed only one hit and struck out six in 4.1 innings.

The homestand will continue for the 'Tees as the Clearwater Threshers (23-23) come to Space Coast Stadium for a three-game series. Drew Gagnon (3-4, 5.40) will get the start for Brevard in Friday's opener, with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m.