TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (29-29) took the field for the final home game at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday afternoon and came up short to the St. Lucie Mets (17-41). SS George Lombard Jr. had his best game as a Tarpon, racking up four hits and driving
TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (29-29) took the field for the final home game at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday afternoon and came up short to the St. Lucie Mets (17-41). SS George Lombard Jr. had his best game as a Tarpon, racking up four hits and driving in three runs. Tampa loaded the bases in the ninth with a chance to tie or end the game but the team was unable to capitalize.
RHP Sebastian Keane (2.1IP, 2H, R, 6K) made his first start as a member of the Tarpons after posting a 1.71 ERA in 18 games for the FCL Yankees. Keane opened eyes in his debut, striking out six batters over his first two innings. Keane used a five-pitch mix; his slider had a whiff rate of 100%, while the curveball averaged 2527 RPM.
Jose Hernandez doubled down the left field line and flipped the lineup back over for Diego Mosquera in the third, who moved Hernadez to third with a groundout. RHP Yoljeldriz Diaz took over and walked Nick Morabito. Morabito swiped second base, and Ronald Hernandez brought in the game’s first run with a SAC-fly to left field. Wilfredo Lara doubled into the right-field corner to plate Morabito. Lara stole third, and Nolan McClean walked, prompting Tampa’s second pitching change of the frame. RHP Alex Bustamante took over with runners at the corners and plunked Kellum Clark to load the bases, and another hit-by-pitch to Karell Paz brought in the third run of the frame. After falling behind to Nick Lorusso in a 3-0 count, Bustamante battled back to strike him out and keep the deficit at three.
With one away in the home half of the third, LF Daury Arias got plunked. With two outs, a wild pickoff attempt put Arias on second, and Lombard Jr. drove him home with a single to right field.
Hernandez led off the fourth with a hit-by-pitch, the fourth of the day for Port St. Lucie. With J. Hernandez in motion, Mosquera singled, and with Morabito batting, a catcher’s interference loaded the bases. R. Hernandez drew a free pass to bring in a run and keep the bases juiced. RHP Montana Semmel took over and unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Mosquera to score. McClean stepped up to the plate with two runners in scoring position and picked up his first RBI of the season with a SAC-fly.
Lombard Jr. doubled into the right-center gap in the sixth. He moved up ninety feet on a wild pitch. DH Roc Riggio walked, stole second base, and C Omar Martinez also walked to load the bases and give Tampa a chance to get back in the game. Lombard Jr. scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to four, and 2B Brenny Escanio drew a free pass, which brought up 1B Dylan Jasso as the tying run, but he lined out to third, ending the threat.
CF Nelson Medina and Arias drew back-to-back walks to open the seventh. Both runners advanced a base on a groundout, and Lombard Jr. picked up his third hit of the day, a single that brought in two runs.
The Mets answered right back in the eighth. J. Hernandez singled and stole second, then came around to score on a double off the bat of Morabito to extend the lead to three.
The Tarpons were able to load the bases in the ninth but were not able to bring in any runs. 3B Beau Brewer reached first after getting drilled. Lombard Jr. singled for his fourth knock of the day, which brought the tying run to the plate with no men out. With two away, Martinez walked to load the bases, but back-to-back strikeouts and a lineout ended the game.
Tampa will travel to Lakeland to take on the Flying Tigers in their final series of the 2023 season. First pitch will be Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.