Spring training | Baltimore Orioles pitchers, wood bats too much for State College of Florida in 6-1 defeat

jdill@bradenton.comMarch 30, 2013 

SARASOTA -- Wood bats and big-league arms.

Those were two new things the State College of Florida baseball team encountered Friday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Manatees played the Baltimore Orioles for the second year in a row in an exhibition that raised money for SCF athletics.

But unlike last season's contest, which SCF won 2-1, the Manatees used their own battery against Baltimore's lineup.

Another difference was that aside from Chris Tillman, who started on the mound for Baltimore, and Nick Markakis, who led off several innings for SCF to get him some additional at-bats, the Orioles featured a lineup of minor-leaguers.

Third baseman Buck Britton, brought in from Baltimore's minor-league camp for the SCF contest, rapped a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth to break open the game and send the Orioles to a 6-1 victory.

But the game wasn't about the final score.

Rather, it was about giving SCF players the chance to measure their game against major-league competition.

"I know the Orioles (opening) day lineup wasn't out there, but there were still some recognizable names and some guys that are pretty good ballplayers," SCF head coach Tim Hill II said. "To be able to be on the field with them is just a great experience for our guys for sure."

There were some highlights for the Manatees.

Manatee High alum Trevor Beeman scored on Connor Hale's sacrifice fly in the top of the first for SCF's only

lead.

Hale later singled in the fourth inning, the lone hit by an SCF player. Markakis delivered a leadoff single in the first for the only other SCF hit.

Hale, who is heading to college powerhouse LSU next season, enjoyed his second encounter with the Orioles.

"They know how to hit their spots," he said. "They know to keep the ball down. They paint the corners, keep it on the black. They don't really miss a lot, which is why they are professional players."

Casey Eskew was one of several SCF pitchers who faced Baltimore hitters. Eskew threw two seasons ago in the final charity game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but suffered Tommy John surgery and was forced to redshirt last season.

Healthy again, Eskew retired the side in order. His mindset wasn't any different than when he faces junior-college competition.

"I was just thinking they're another hitter," said Eskew, a Sarasota High grad. "I've just got to go in there and get them out. I can't get them out if I don't throw strikes. So my big thing was throwing strikes (Friday), and that's what I did."

Also Friday, SCF's new mascot, Maverick the Manatee, made its first public appearance.

The amount of money generated from the $5 reserved tickets for SCF athletics was unavailable.

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