A five-run ninth inning combined with strong pitching by the Tampa Yankees bullpen led them to victory over the Brevard County Manatees.
Luis Niebla, 24, made his first start of the 2015 season and went three innings allowing 1 run on 1 hit and a walk. So far this season he has excelled. In 7 games he has thrown over 17 innings, allowing only one run and four hits over that span as well as walking just 5 batters and striking out 18. He is continuing the momentum he started this past off-season in the Winter Leagues, where he 2-3 with a 2.87 ERA over 9 starts in Mexico.
Brevard County scored first in the game, plating a single run in the bottom of the third inning off of Niebla. The T-Yanks would answer in the top of the fourth with a run of their own. Mike Ford led-off the fourth inning with a walk and then scored on a one-out line drive double to left field by Michael O’Neill.
The Manatees would plate an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead once more but that was hit for their offense. They would not get a hit for the rest of the night as the Tampa bullpen was outstanding. Chad Taylor pitched the fourth and allowed just a hit and a walk. He was followed by Gabriel Encinas who went 3 1/3 innings, allowing a walk and striking out 6 batters. Conor Mullee earned the victory, pitching 1 2/3 innings and striking out 2.
The big five-run ninth inning started off with Abiatal Avelino lining a single to left and then moving to third on a double by Tyler Wade. Third baseman Miguel Andujar then sent a fly ball over the left field fence to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. They were not done there, with one out Danny Oh doubled to center, then moved to third on a balk. After second out Ericson Lenora was hit by a pitch to put men at the corners and two outs. The Manatees then went to the bullpen to bring in Scott Lieser, who then threw a wild pitch that allowed Oh to score and move Lenora to second. That set up Ericson to score on a line drive single to right field by Wes Wilson to plate the sixth run for Tampa.
Five of the Tampa Yankees hitters had multiple hits in the game, including Abiatal Avelino and Michael O’Neill who each got three hits. Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar and Danny Oh each had two hits.