TAMPA, Fla. - Oh, so close. The Tampa Tarpons (9-15) dropped a nailbiter to the Bradenton Marauders (15-9) Thursday night at GMS Field, 7-6. Tampa rallied hard in the ninth; they had the tying run on third base after scoring two runs to pull within one, but were not able
TAMPA, Fla. - Oh, so close. The Tampa Tarpons (9-15) dropped a nailbiter to the Bradenton Marauders (15-9) Thursday night at GMS Field, 7-6. Tampa rallied hard in the ninth; they had the tying run on third base after scoring two runs to pull within one, but were not able to prevail.
LHP Brock Selvidge (5.0IP, 5H, 3R, 2BB, 5K, HR) opened on the bump for Tampa and gave the team five quality innings despite taking the loss. Selvidge relied heavily on his fastball, using it 47% of the time. His fastball averaged 92 MPH, but did not generate many swings and misses, getting only two whiffs on the pitch.
Jesus Castillo led off the night with a chopper over 1B Ronny Rojas’ glove. He advanced to second on a groundout. Castillo tried to get within 90 feet of scoring, but C Omar Martinez threw a dart to 3B Jared Serna to nab the runner. Serna did not have to move his glove as the throw led him right into the tag to eliminate any threat in the first.
Bradenton struck first in the second inning. They loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, a single, and an E3. Shalin Polanco crossed home plate as Selvidge unleashed a wild pitch, giving Bradenton the first run of the night. Selvidge struck out two batters looking and got Nick Cimillo to ground out to escape any further damage.
After turning a 6-4-3 double play, it looked like Tampa was going to have an easy third inning. Rodolfo Nolasco had other ideas as he blasted a 102 MPH rocket off the center field wall. CF Alan Mejia collided with the wall while trying to make the catch, and Nolasco was off to the races. Nolasco turned on the afterburners, rounding second base, and made it all the way home for an inside-the-park home run.
When the lineup flipped back over in the third, Tampa sparked a two-out rally. SS Brenny Escanio singled to right field, and RF Daury Arias roped a double into the right-center gap, scoring Escanio all the way from first. The rally did not stop there. Jared Triolo misplayed a groundball off the bat of Serna. As the ball rolled into right field, Arias beat the throw home to tie the game; however, Serna was out trying to stretch the single into a double.
After a one-out walk, Delvis Nadal made his presence felt by swiping both second and third base in the fourth. With Nadal 90 feet away from scoring, Rayber Romero laid down an unusual and unsuccessful two-out bunt to get Tampa out of the inning.
With one away in the fifth, Castillo hugged a double down the left field line. Many Tarpons, including Manager Rachel Balkovec, thought the ball was foul. Triolo followed up the two-bagger with his first hit since starting his rehab stint (hamate bone) with an RBI single to center field.
Arias was "blinded by the light," as Manfred Mann sings, when he lost the ball in the bright lights of GMS Field in the seventh inning. The misplayed ball allowed Triolo to pick up a double, and he advanced to third on a passed ball. He crossed the plate when RHP Manny Ramirez botched a pickoff move to first base. Polanco added to the Bradenton lead when he blasted a 409-foot home run into the second level in right-center field.
The Tarpons chipped into the lead in the seventh. Martinez worked a one-out walk and back-to-back singles from 1B Ronny Rojas and Mejia trimmed the lead to three. With runners on the corners, Tampa pulled off a double steal; Escanio took off for second and drew a throw that allowed Rojas to steal home.
The Marauders were able to reclaim their three-run lead in the ninth when Jauri Custodio drew a two-out walk and RHP Cole Ayers came into the game to face Nadal. Nadal greeted him by smacking an RBI triple into the left-center field gap.
The Tarpons would not give up. Coming into the ninth inning down three, Tampa was able to shorten the lead to two when Arias singled past a diving Alexander Mojica. Serna came up to the plate as the winning run and beat out an infield single to trim the lead to one. Both runners advanced on a throwing error by Rivas. After an intentional walk to LF Anthony Hall, 2B Dayro Perez came up with the bases juiced and a chance to walk it off. Bradenton's closer, Mike Walsh, attacked Perez with high fastballs, eventually getting him to strike out, leaving the bases loaded and cutting Tampa’s rally just short.
The Tarpons will look to bounce back from the tough loss against the Marauders tomorrow at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Game four of their six-game series is set for 6:30 p.m., with RHP Sean Hermann projected to make the start.