Early Rally Sparks Lopsided 12-1 Mussels Win
FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 12, 2023) – The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels secured their fourth consecutive win Friday after a five-run first inning propelled them to a 12-1 victory over the Tampa Tarpons at Hammond Stadium. Mussels’ (17-14) starter C.J. Culpepper (1-2) was stellar, notching season highs with 5.1 innings
FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 12, 2023) – The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels secured their fourth consecutive win Friday after a five-run first inning propelled them to a 12-1 victory over the Tampa Tarpons at Hammond Stadium.
Mussels’ (17-14) starter C.J. Culpepper (1-2) was stellar, notching season highs with 5.1 innings pitched and eight strikeouts. The right-hander at one point retired ten consecutive Tampa (11-20) hitters, and the effort earned him his first professional win.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Jorel Ortega walked, and Danny De Andrade singled to place runners at first and second. After a strikeout, Ricardo Olivar chopped a soft grounder past the mound for an infield single that loaded the bases. The next Mussels hitter Rafael Cruz torched a line drive into the left-field corner that cleared the bases to give Fort Myers a 3-1 lead.
Dalton Shuffield followed with a single to right field that brought home Cruz and pushed the lead to three. After Shuffield advanced to third on a ground out, he scored on a wild pitch a hitter later, to give the Mussels a 4-1 advantage.
In the bottom of the second, Ortega led off with a double to left, giving him extra-base hits in four straight games. After two flyouts, Olivar singled on a line drive to left to score Ortega and extend the lead to five runs.
With a 5-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth, Olivar singled to center with one out to notch his third hit of the night. After he stole second, Cruz doubled on a hard grounder down the right field line to give Fort Myers its sixth run of the evening.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Mussels pushed across five more runs to extend their lead to 12-1. Tampa faced 11 batters in the frame while walking three, hitting two, and committing one error.
The 12-run performance marks the sixth time this season the Mussels have scored ten or more runs. Moreover, their pitching staff has limited the Tarpons to just one run over their last 23 innings of work.
Fort Myers will seek its fifth straight win tomorrow when they send LHP Wilker Reyes (1-0, 6.55) to the mound against Tampa’s Justin Lange (0-2, 3.66). Coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on the Mighty Mussels Baseball Network.