Tampa Offense Struggles in Loss to Lakeland, 5-0

Jhalan Jackson (1-for-3) signs an autograph for a fan during Friday night's fireworks extravaganza. (Mark LoMoglio)

By Nick Flammia / Tampa Yankees | April 7, 2017 9:49 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Yankees (0-2) continued a slow start to the season as the Lakeland Flying Tigers (2-0) cruised to a 5-0 win on Friday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Lakeland pitching held the Tampa bats to two hits and, at one point, retired 25-straight Yankees.

Taylor Widener got the start for the T-Yanks, making his Tampa debut. The righty retired nine of the first 10 batters he faced before finding trouble in the fourth.

Will Maddox lined a leadoff single and stole second before a balk by Widener sent the runner to third. Quincy Latimore served an RBI single into left and advanced to second on a base hit by Joey Pankake. One out later, Jose Azocar drove in Latimore with a single into right, giving the Flying Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Jorge Mateo led off the bottom of the first by ripping a double down the left field line. The T-Yanks would not get a second base runner until the ninth inning.

A.J. Ladwig (W, 1-0) started for the Flying Tigers and retired 18 consecutive batters following the Mateo double. The right-hander tossed six shutout innings, holding Tampa to one hit while striking out six.

Lakeland added three more runs in the fifth. With one out, Widener plunked Ross Kivett in the back. A sacrifice bunt by Maddox moved the runner to second before Wade Hinkle clobbered a two-run homer into the bar in right field. LHP Nestor Cortes entered in relief and was greeted by a solo homer from Latimore, giving the Flying Tigers a 5-0 advantage.

Widener (L, 0-1) surrendered four earned runs on five hits in four and two-third innings, walking one while striking out four and throwing 49 of 69 pitches for strikes.

LHP Jairo Labourt relieved Ladwig in the seventh and worked two perfect innings, striking out four. RHP Drew Smith allowed a base hit by Jhalan Jackson, but closed the game by adding a strikeout.

The series continues over the weekend in Lakeland at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. RHP Domingo Acevedo is slated to pitch for Tampa on Friday against Lakeland RHP Spencer Turnbull. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.

The T-Yanks return home on Monday to begin a three-game series with the Fort Myers Miracle at 7:00 p.m. Fans can enjoy $1 Hotdog Monday by getting $1 Scooter Dogs all night long. For tickets and promotional information, call (813) 673-3055 or visit tybaseball.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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