TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (19-27) returned home to face the Bradenton Marauders (24-22) at George M. Steinbrenner Field after a successful road trip where they won four of six games at Palm Beach. What looked like a pitcher's duel turned into a slugfest toward the latter half of
TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (19-27) returned home to face the Bradenton Marauders (24-22) at George M. Steinbrenner Field after a successful road trip where they won four of six games at Palm Beach. What looked like a pitcher's duel turned into a slugfest toward the latter half of the contest. The game was scoreless through five innings, and Tampa’s offense abruptly erupted for 15 runs in the final three innings. The onslaught was led by LF Christopher Familia, who just joined the team today. His three-run homer in the sixth broke the tie and the Tarpons never looked back.
On Monday, RHP Hayden Merda (6.0 IP, 4H, 3BB, 4K) was named pitcher of the week for his last outing, and he lived up to that honor on Tuesday night. Merda went six scoreless while only giving up four hits. What kept Merda unpredictable was that he effectively mixed three pitches. His slider made up 37% of his total pitch usage, with his cutter at 37% and his sinker at 24%. Bradenton’s lineup was kept off balance with the 11 MPH difference on the sinker and slider. Merda induced two key double plays in the third and sixth inning, which kept the Marauders off the board.
Welcome back, Christopher Familia! After CF Nelson Medina worked his second walk of the game in the sixth, 1B Omar Martinez grounded a single past Jesus Castillo at first to put runners on the corners with no one out. In his first game back with the Tarpons in 2023, Familia launched a three-run home run to break the scoreless tie in the sixth. The homer traveled 412 feet and left the bat at 108 MPH. The scoring did not stop there for Tampa. After two walks, RF Anthony Hall roped a double off the right field wall to extend the lead to five.
The Tarpons tacked on four more runs in the seventh. Martinez walked and came around to score on an error by Elijah Birdsong when he threw the ball away at first. Another run came around for Tampa when DH Daury Arias singled to left, plating 3B Brett Barrera. Hall picked up a two-RBI single to grow the lead to nine runs.
The Tarpons hung another crooked number in the eighth. Martinez walked, and Familia picked up his third hit of the night to set up Barrera, who drove an RBI single to right center field to make the lead double digits for Tampa. 2B Jared Serna beat out a slow roller to pick up his team-leading 24th RBI of the season and extend the lead even further. C Agustin Ramirez walked for the fifth time, bringing in another RBI for Tampa. Hall hit a line drive to center field, but Shalin Polanco was unable to haul it in, bringing in another three runs for Tampa to make the lead 15-0, which would hold through the ninth.
The Tarpons will look to make it three in a row when they host the Marauders at George M. Steinbrenner Field tomorrow night. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. with RHP Kris Bow projected to make the start.