TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Tarpons (10-3) came ready to play Friday afternoon, sweeping their doubleheader against the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2-9) at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Tarpons used a late-game rally to win game one and then flip flopped with an early offensive surge to capture game
TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Tarpons (10-3) came ready to play Friday afternoon, sweeping their doubleheader against the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (2-9) at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The Tarpons used a late-game rally to win game one and then flip flopped with an early offensive surge to capture game two.
The Tarpons relied on late-game heroics to take game one, amassing four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to a 5-3 victory over Fort Myers.
RHP Juan Carela (5-2) toed the slab for Tampa and produced six quality innings of work in the early matchup. The right-hander surrendered three runs over six hits with all the damage coming in the top of the second.
Carela began the second inning by pelting Mikey Perez with ball four, followed by Carlos Aguiar who singled on a line drive to RF Oswaldo Cabrera. With runners on second and third, Rubel Cespedes stepped up to the plate and smoked an RBI single between 2B Luis Santos and SS Ben Cowles to score both runners. Kala’i Rosario added another run on a bloop single that dropped in front of CF Jasson Dominguez to give the Mighty Mussels a 3-0 lead.
C Ben Rice tightened things up in the bottom half of the frame and put the Tarpons on the board with a solo shot to right center.
The game remained a pitcher’s duel from the third inning on - all the way to the bottom of the sixth when Tampa’s offense finally came to life. John Wilson (0-2) walked Cowles on a full count to start off the inning and on the very next pitch surrendered a ground ball base-hit to LF Grant Richardson. Rice continued his busy day with a clutch RBI single to plate Cowles and cut the deficit to one. After a double steal put two runners in scoring position, 2B Luis Santos lifted a single to left to tie the game at three apiece. 3B Roberto Chirinos capped off the rally by cracking a two-run double over the head of Luis Baez in center to clear the bases and put Tampa ahead 5-3.
RHP Harold Cortijo was summoned from the pen to close things up and secured his first save of the year.
The Tarpons coasted to victory in the night cap behind some early offense for a change, defeating the Mighty Mussels, 3-1.
DH Jasson Dominguez started things off with a bang, launching the very first pitch he saw for a lead-off solo homer which nearly cleared the stadium.
Tampa kept their foot on the gas in the bottom of the second inning – adding another two runs to their lead. SS Ben Cowles led off with a double that bounced off the wall in right and came around to score on a double by CF Grant Richardson. Richardson crossed the plate on a double steal attempt which increased the lead to 3-0.
RHP Richard Fitts (3-6) was lights out on the bump, fanning seven batters over five plus innings of one-run ball. The lone blemish of the night came in the top of the sixth inning when Kala’i Rosario punished Fitts’ 2-0 offering to the base of the GMS scoreboard.
With the lead cut down to 3-1, manager Rachel Balkovec made the call to the bullpen and turned to RHP Trevor Holloway to hold everything together. Holloway served his purpose and slammed the door on Fort Myers to secure the doubleheader sweep.
The Tarpons face off with the Mighty Mussels tomorrow night for game five of their six game set. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM EST, with RHP Chandler Champlain (2-4, 3.79 ERA) scheduled to make the start.