LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tampa Yankees closed out the regular season with their league-leading 17th shutout win of the season, blanking the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 5-0, on Sunday afternoon at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Doing so, the T-Yanks set a new franchise record with their 85th win, eclipsing the 1996 Tampa team that finished 84-50.
All nine batters stepped to the plate as the Yankees (46-19, 85-50) scored four runs off Lakeland (32-30, 62-66) starter Austin Sodders in the first inning.
Hoy Jun Park was hit by a pitch and advanced on a bunt single by Gosuke Katoh . One out later, a liner by Estevan Florial hit off the glove of second-baseman Shane Cooper and rolled into right field. After initially pulling up at third, Park broke for the plate and scored on a weak throw in from the outfield as Katoh advanced to second.
Billy Fleming followed with a two-run double into the left field corner and later scored on a two-out single by Jhalan Jackson . A walk by Keith Skinner extended the inning before Sodders retired Alexander Palma to stop the bleeding.
LHP Chaz Hebert missed all of 2016 and half of 2017 after having "Tommy John Surgery." On Sunday, the 24-year-old turned in his best start since his return, spinning four scoreless frames while scattering three hits. The southpaw struck out a pair without issuing a walk and took a no-decision.
Sodders retired eight of the next nine batters he faced until Tampa produced a run with two outs in the fourth. Park pulled a single into right and promptly stole second before scoring on a liner to right by Katoh, giving the Yankees a 5-0 lead.
RHP David Palladino (W, 1-0) relieved Hebert in the fifth and dismissed nine of the 11 batters he faced, yielding a hit and a walk while striking out three. LHP Caleb Frare picked up one strikeout in a perfect eighth before LHP Trevor Lane fired a 1-2-3 ninth.
Sodders (L, 4-5) tied a season-high with five runs allowed on six hits in five innings. The lefty hit one batter, walked two and struck out two.
Katoh (2-for-5, RBI, R) and Trey Amburgey (1-for-5, 2B) both extended their hitting streaks to eight games. Fleming (1-for-3, 2B, BB, 2RBI, R), Jackson (1-for-3, BB, RBI) and Skinner (1-for-3, BB) reached base twice apiece.
The postseason begins on Tuesday, when the Yankees play Game 1 of the North Division Championship Series against the Dunedin Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the probably pitching matchup includes RHP Brian Keller (5-3, 2.65 ERA) for Tampa and RHP Josh DeGraaf (7-4, 3.32 ERA) for Dunedin. Live audio will be available on the Tampa Yankees Radio Network at 6:20 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.