BRADENTON, Fla. - The Tampa Yankees (1-1) scored four of their five runs with a trio of two-out hits on their way to defeating the Bradenton Marauders (1-1), 5-4, on Saturday night at McKechnie Field, pulling the best-of-five Florida State League Championship Series even at a game apiece.
Rashad Crawford collected the first timely hit. Gleyber Torres reached on a fielder's choice and scored from first when Crawford lined a two-out double into the gap in right-center, giving Tampa a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Marauders tallied three solo home runs off of RHP Luis Cedeño. Jordan Luplow hit the first in the bottom of the second, tying the game at 1-1.
Kevin Cornelius and Zack Zehner began the fourth with back-to-back singles off RHP Austin Coley. One out later, Tito Polo legged out an infield single, loading the bases. A slow-rolling groundout to first by Wes Wilson brought home Cornelius. Jorge Mateo followed with a two-out, two-run single into center.
Coley allowed four earned runs on eight hits in five and two-third innings, walking one, striking out four and hitting one batter. The righty threw 54 of 79 pitches for strikes.
Solo homers by Michael Suchy in the fourth and Kevin Kramer in the fifth brought the Marauders within one.
Cedeño allowed three earned runs on six hits over five innings in his debut with Tampa. The right-hander tallied two walks, two strikeouts and a hit-batter, throwing 42 of 80 pitches for strikes.
Bradenton rallied to tie the score off RHP Joe Harvey in the seventh. After a leadoff walk by Luplow, Taylor Gushue singled into right. Suchy followed with an RBI single to left, scoring Luplow. A sacrifice bunt by Cole Tucker placed two runners into scoring position.
Tampa drew the infield in and Pablo Reyes grounded a ball to second. Mateo looked right and caught Suchy off the bag, tagging him out while keeping Gushue from scoring. LHP Justin Kamplain (W, 1-0) entered and got Kramer to pop out, ending the threat.
Thairo Estrada lined a single off RHP Nick Neumann (L, 0-1) with one out in the seventh. A wild pitch sent allowed Estrada to take second and a single by Torres placed runners on the corners.
Neumann struck out Crawford before RHP Tate Scioneaux entered in relief. Cornelius worked a full count and lined a two-out RBI single into left, giving Tampa the lead.
Kamplain and RHP Jordan Foley combined to retire the side in order in the seventh. Foley then worked around a leadoff walk to deal a scoreless eighth. RHP Dillon McNamara (SV, 2) recorded a strikeout in a 1-2-3 ninth, closing the game.
Tampa totaled 12 hits, with Cornelius (2-for-5, RBI, R), Estrada (2-for-4, HBP, R), Zehner (2-for-3, BB, R) and Polo (2-for-3, BB, R) recording two hits apiece.
The series continues with Game 3 set for 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Despite the game being played at McKechnie Field, the Yankees will be the "home" team. RHP Yefrey Ramirez (0-0, 1.29 ERA) will make his second postseason start for Tampa against Bradenton RHP Mitch Keller (1-0, 0.00 ERA).