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Double Trouble: Tampa drops both ends of doubleheader to Dunedin 

Ronny Rojas singles in a run during Game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader against Dunedin at GMS Field. (Maggie Christensen)
July 29, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (14-15) dropped both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader to the Dunedin Blue Jays (12-17) at GMS Field. The first inning was all Dunedin needed in both games, putting up six runs in game one’s first frame and four in game two’s. In game two, the

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (14-15) dropped both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader to the Dunedin Blue Jays (12-17) at GMS Field. The first inning was all Dunedin needed in both games, putting up six runs in game one’s first frame and four in game two’s. In game two, the Tarpons rallied in the seventh, loaded the bases, and brought the winning run to the plate in the form of 2B Jose Colmenares. Colmenares hit a missile to the left-center gap, but it was run down by Angel Del Rosario for the final out.

GAME 1

The Blue Jays wasted no time, batting around in the first inning of game one. Angel Del Rosario started the six-run frame, smacking the game's first pitch into the left-center gap for a leadoff triple. Manuel Beltre brought Del Rosario home with a base hit back up the middle. Peyton Willimas lined the Blue Jays' second triple of the inning into the right-field corner, bringing Beltre home from first base. Dunedin brought in their third run of the frame when Edward Duran hit a jam shot out to center field. After JC Masson walked, Rikelbin De Castro brought in two more with a knock to left field. The bleeding did not stop there, though, as Del Rosario picked up his second hit of the inning, which brought De Castro home.

After the first inning, Dunedin would tack on seven more runs and take the game by a score of 13-1. The lone run was the only bright spot, and it came from 3B Ronny Rojas. He put the Tarpons on the board with a solo shot to right field for his eighth long ball of the season.

GAME 2

RHP Hayden Merda (4.0 IP, 5H, 6R, 4ER, 2BB, 5K) took the ball for game two and found his groove late after struggling early. He surrendered four earned runs in the first inning and then pitched three solid innings, giving up two runs, none of them earned. Merda’s best pitch was his slider, which accounted for 24% of his total pitch usage. The slider combined for a CSW% (Called Strikes + Whiffs/100) of 37%.

To start the nightcap, the Blue Jays put together a two-out rally in the first. They loaded the bases when Tucker Toman singled, Roque Salinas hit a ground-rule double over the right field wall, and Brennan Orf worked a walk. Nick Goodwin picked up his first professional hit, hugging a double down the left field line that cleared the bases. Jackson Hornung followed suit, picking up his first professional hit, an RBI single off the leaping glove of 3B Ronny Rojas.

The Tarpons answered back in the home half of the first with their own two-out rally. C Omar Martinez started the rally with a base hit to center field. CF Anthony Hall walked, and Rojas brought in Martinez with an RBI knock to left. It was a close play at the plate, but Martinez just got under the tag from Hornung to put Tampa on the board.

Some sloppy defense cost the Tarpons in the second. The inning started with back-to-back errors, and Salinas took advantage and drove them both in with his second double of the game.

Colmenares launched a 397-foot solo homerun over the left-field fence. The fourth-inning long ball left Colmenares’ bat at 103.1 MPH, and he knew that he got all of it when he looked back at Tampa’s dugout to hype the team up in hopes of igniting the offense.

Tampa had a golden opportunity to get back in the game in the fifth. Martinez racked up his second hit of the game, pulling a fifth-inning leadoff double into the right field corner. After walks to Rojas and LF Jake Palmer, 1B Beau Brewer stepped up to the plate but bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Colmenares was “oh so close” to sending the Tarpons home happy in the seventh. After loading the bases on three walks, Tampa pulled to within three when Brewer worked the fourth walk of the frame. Already having hit one homer on the night, Colmenares came to the plate trying to be the hero. He laced a 104 MPH flyout to the left-center gap. The flyout had an expected batting average of .890; however, it was run down by Del Rosario to end the game.

RHP Ryan Harvey is projected to start the series finale tomorrow afternoon as the Tarpons close out their six-game set with the Blue Jays. First pitch is set for 12:00 p.m. at GMS Field.