TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons’ (27-28) offense poured on the runs in their return to the field Thursday night in the FSL Subway Series against the St. Lucie Mets (16-39) at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The outburst comes after the first two games of the series were canceled due
TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons’ (27-28) offense poured on the runs in their return to the field Thursday night in the FSL Subway Series against the St. Lucie Mets (16-39) at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The outburst comes after the first two games of the series were canceled due to Hurricane Idalia. Every starter in Tampa’s lineup reached base at least once in the victory. The Tarpons went 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position, leaving only four men left on base.
RHP Jackson Fristoe (3.2IP, 3H, R, BB, 6K) was impressive in his first start as a Tarpon after being promoted from the Florida Complex League. Fristoe’s fastball lit up the radar gun, topping out at 98.1 MPH and sitting at 96.1 MPH. He also had the strikeout stuff working, striking out over half of the batters he faced. The cutter and slider were also dominant for Fristoe, as they tunneled in the same lane but averaged around a 7 MPH speed difference.
Marco Vargas opened the night with a single to right field. A balk moved Vargas and with two away, Wilfredo Lara gave the Mets the lead with an RBI knock to left field.
SS George Lombard Jr. drew a free pass to start the home half of the first. Lombard Jr. took off for second base, getting in safely, and the throw-down hit off Vargas’ glove and trickled into center, allowing Lombard Jr. to move to third. DH Jackson Castillo brought Lombard home to tie the game on a groundout to first. C Omar Martinez and 1B Josh Moylan flexed their muscles, launching back-to-back home runs. Martinez’s blast traveled 401 feet to give Tampa the lead, and Moylan’s long ball left the bat at 105.6 MPH to add another run on the board.
Lombard Jr. led off the third with a single to left, marking his first hit as a member of the Tarpons. 2B Roc Riggio, another pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, laced a 103.2 MPH double to the left-center gap, bringing home Lombard Jr. Riggio was thrown out at third, trying to stretch the double into a triple. Castillo and Martinez then worked walks to prompt a pitching change for the Mets. Elliot Johnstone took over, and after a strikeout, 3B Kiko Romero launched a three-run homer. The four-bagger left the bat at 103.6 MPH and landed 399 feet later in the right field seats.
Nick Lorusso walked, and Kellum Clark doubled against a shifted infield to put two runners in scoring position for Port St. Lucie. Vargas grounded out to first, but Lorusso crossed to second, and the next batter, Nick Morabito, lifted a SAC-fly to right to add another run.
Moylan and Romero led off the sixth with free passes. RF Garrett Martin was hit by a sinker to load the bases for CF Nelson Medina. Medina promptly cleared the bases with a triple. It was Medina’s second triple in as many games to bust the contest wide open and give Tampa a seven-run lead. After Lombard Jr. reached for the third time with a walk, Riggio drove in another run with a single to right field. Lombard Jr. advanced to third on the single to put runners on the corners for Castillo, who drove in the fifth run of the frame with an RBI groundout.
Tampa tacked on two more runs in the seventh. With runners on first and second, Medina grounded a ball to short, which was booted by Vargas, allowing Romero to score. LF Tayler Aguilar singled to center field to give Tampa an eleven-run lead.
Romero came up with runners on first and third in the eighth. He bounced into a fielder’s choice for his fourth RBI of the night.
The Tarpons will look to keep the offense rolling tomorrow night when they host the Mets for the second game of the four-game set. RHP Hayden Merda will get the ball with first pitch at 6:30 p.m.