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Stone Crabs drop series to Manatees

Extra-inning win gives way to pair of tough losses
June 27, 2012
VIERA -- It was a series ravaged by rain, but the Brevard County Manatees utilized the big inning to take 2-of-3 from the Stone Crabs.

Though Charlotte opened the day with a comeback victory in the completion of Tuesday's suspended game, the Manatees rebounded for a doubleheader sweep on a busy Wednesday at Space Coast Stadium.

Tropical Storm Debby made her presence felt in the first three days of the series, washing away the first two day of the series completely before derailing Tuesday's twin bill. All of that inclement weather forced the two teams to get as much baseball in as possible on Wednesday.

Charlotte began the marathon day with a victory in a suspended game from Tuesday, when Game 1 of an attempted double header was halted due to rain in the top of the fifth inning. The Stone Crabs pushed that slated seven-inning contest into extras before grabbing a 5-3 win.

Robby Price's sixth-inning, bunt single chased home Luke Bailey to tie the game, 3-3. The score stayed that way into extra innings, where the Stone Crabs went ahead for good on a sacrifice fly from Robi Estrada in the eighth. Mikie Mahtook added some insurance with an RBI-triple to cap the scoring as Jimmy Patterson (6-3) notched the win in relief.

With one game complete, the teams then proceeded to play a doubleheader in hopes of making up as many games as possible from the prior three days of rain. That was when the Manatees' offense came to life.

In Game 1 of the doubleheader, Albert Suarez pitched well, but was undone by defenses lapses in the bottom half of the first inning. When all was said and done, Brevard County had pushed six runs across in the frame.

Suarez (4-4) was charged with all six runs - four earned - on seven hits and a pair of walks. He lasted four innings and recorded four strike outs in a losing effort. Charlotte failed to convert a pair of potential double plays that could have changed the complexion of the inning. Riccio Torrez made an error at third base, and Joey Paciorek was allowed to steal home when catcher David Wendt dropped the relay throw from Derek Dietrich.

Staked to that early lead, Manatees starter Jed Bradley shut down the Charlotte offense on the way to an 8-1 victory. Bradley (5-6) allowed just one run on five hits, and a walk while striking out five in a complete game effort.

Brevard County's bats remained stay hot in the finale, where another big inning provided the victory.

Eliazer Suero (1-5) suffered through a five-run third inning that saw six consecutive Manatees reach base at one point. Five of those base men collected extra-base hits, with the big blow coming off the bat of Brock Kjeldgaard. His two-run homer put the icing on the proverbial cake.

A pair of early leads were not enough for the Stone Crabs to avoid the eventual 8-5 defeat. The top four men in the Manatees lineup combined to reach base in 12 of their 15 plate appearances, finishing the day 8-for-11 with four walks.

Mahtook finished the abbreviated three-game series with four hits while driving home four runs as well. He moved into a tie with Torrez for second on the team with 31 RBI's on the year.

The Stone Crabs return home to Charlotte Sports Park for a three-game split series against the Fort Myers Miracle. Righty Victor Mateo take the mound on Thursday for the Stone Crabs against left-hander Cole Nelson of the Miracle. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.