BRADENTON, Fla. - The Tampa Yankees entered the postseason with the best pitching staff in the league. In the end, the league's top offense came away with the title as the Bradenton Marauders clinched their first Florida State League Championship with a 4-1 victory in Game 4 on Monday night at McKechnie Field.
The Marauders hit .311 as a team in their six postseason games while the T-Yanks finished with a .214 team batting average in seven playoff games.
Kevin Cornelius provided an early lead for Tampa in a "must-win" game by crushing a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the second.
LHP Josh Rogers retired the first seven batters he faced until Taylor Gushue hit a high fly ball down the left field line that appeared to hook foul. However, the ruling on the field was "home run" and the game became tied at 1-1 in the third.
Trouble arose for Rogers in the fifth when Jordan Luplow and Wyatt Mathisen led off with back-to-back singles into center. Gushue squared to bunt, but a passed ball by catcher Wes Wilson advanced the runners. Gushue then gave Bradenton the lead for good with a sacrifice fly to right. Michael Suchy followed with an RBI groundout.
Rogers (L, 0-1) allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in five and a third innings. The southpaw tallied five strikeouts while not issuing a walk, throwing 47 of 68 pitches for strikes.
RHP Jonathan Brubaker (W, 2-0) recorded his second quality start of the postseason, holding Tampa to one run on six hits in six innings. The 22-year-old struck out five and did not allow a walk while throwing 62 of 87 pitches for strikes.
Pablo Reyes hit a leadoff double in the eighth and later crossed the plate on a fielding error, scoring the final run of the game.
RHP Tanner Anderson (SV, 2) notched his second save of the series by retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced over three scoreless relief innings, tallying five strikeouts.
RHP Jordan Foley (1.0IP, 1H, 1K), LHP Justin Kamplain (0.2IP, 1H, 1R/0ER) and RHP Dillon McNamara (2.0IP, 1H, 1K) pitched in relief of Rogers.
Connor Spencer (3-for-4) led the Yankees with a .292 (7-for-24) postseason batting average. Thairo Estrada (2-for-3) also recorded a multi-hit game.
The T-Yanks will look to repeat as FSL North Division Champions and return to the title series when the 2017 season begins in April.