TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (9-14) took down the Bradenton Marauders (14-9) at GMS Field thanks to a big game at the plate from 1B Omar Martinez. Martinez blasted a clutch three RBI triple in the sixth inning which broke the tie and proved to be the difference in
TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (9-14) took down the Bradenton Marauders (14-9) at GMS Field thanks to a big game at the plate from 1B Omar Martinez. Martinez blasted a clutch three RBI triple in the sixth inning which broke the tie and proved to be the difference in the game.
RHP Leonardo Pestana (4.0IP, 3H, R, 3BB, 7K) started on the mound for Tampa and struggled a bit with his command out of the gate. Ultimately, he settled in after the first inning and gave the Tarpons what they were looking for. Pestana relied on his fastball and slider, combining for 72% of his total pitch usage and eleven total whiffs.
Jesus Castillo opened the game with a five-pitch walk. After advancing to second base on a wild pitch, Rodolfo Nolasco laced a line drive off of 3B Ronny Rojas’ glove to plate the first run of the night. Enmaneul Terrero chopped a grounder over Pestana’s 6’4’’ frame for an infield single. Wyatt Hendrie bounced into a 5-4-3 double play to limit the damage to one.
The Tarpons wasted no time answering back in the first. With one away, DH Daury Arias ripped a grounder past the outstretched arm of Alexander Mojica. As the ball trickled into the right field corner, Arias showed off his speed, cruising into third base. With two outs and the runner looming on third, 2B Jared Serna sent a high fly ball all the way to the warning track. It looked like Nolasco made a terrific catch against the wall, but the ball bounced out of his glove as he collided with the wall, resulting in an RBI double for Serna.
Tampa’s offense did not let up in the second. LF Taylor Aguilar roped a 108 MPH double into right field to start the offense in the second. Martinez’s first big hit of the night gave Tampa the lead when he grounded a ball to first that skipped over the glove of Mojica.
Bradenton was able to tie the game in the sixth inning. They loaded the bases, courtesy of a walk and back-to-back singles from Terrero and Hendrie. RHP Ocean Gabonia walked his second batter of the inning, bringing in the tying run. Manager Rachel Balkovec had seen enough and called on RHP Mason Vinyard to stop the bleeding with the bases loaded and no one out. If this was a level in MLB The Show, it would have been impossible, but Vinyard made it look easy. He struck out the first two and got Delvis Nadal to pop out, escaping the jam.
Tampa responded right back in the home half of the sixth. They also loaded the bases thanks to an E4 that let RF Anthony Hall reach and two free passes to CF Nelson Medina and LF Felix Negueis. In the spirit of the NBA playoffs, Martinez for three, bang! A 105 MPH, three-RBI triple reclaimed the lead for Tampa. The ball jumped off the bat and soared over the leaping Nolasco.
The say hey, kid? That is what it looked like as Medina gave flashbacks of Willie Mays out in center field, making an unbelievable over-the-shoulder catch in deep center field. Jesus Castillo tipped his helmet as he headed back to the dugout in acknowledgment of the superb play.
Get up, ball, get up. That was what Serna was thinking as the ball left his bat in the seventh. It did indeed “get up”, clearing the left field fence 364 feet later, and when it landed, Tampa had a 6-2 lead.
The star of the bullpen was RHP Matt Keating. Keating entered in the eighth inning and pitched two perfect frames to secure the victory for Tampa. Bradenton hitters swung at his slider six times and missed on all six.
The Tarpons will take on the Marauders for game three of the six-game set tomorrow night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. RHP Brock Selvidge will toe the slab, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.