LAKELAND, Fla. -- Tampa pitchers tallied 13 strikeouts as the offense knocked in six runs with 12 hits in a 6-1 victory over the Flying Tigers on Saturday night at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. It was the 84th win of the season for the Yankees (45-19, 84-50), tying the franchise record set by the 1996 Tampa team that finished 84-50.
RHP Taylor Widener (W, 7-8) tied a season-high with eight strikeouts while scattering four hits and two walks over five shutout innings. The 22-year-old has allowed no more than three earned runs in each of his last 16 starts, going 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA (20ER/70.0IP) and 78 strikeouts in that span.
Three-straight singles by Chris Gittens , Tim Lynch , and Donny Sands loaded the bases with no outs against Lakeland (32-29, 62-65) starter Endrys Briceno in the second. Billy Fleming hit a grounder down the third base line and Joey Pankake made a diving stop, stepped on the bag and threw to second for a double play. Gittens scored on the play, beating a throw to the plate by second-baseman Will Maddox.
In the fifth, the Yankees rallied with three-straight extra-base hits. Kyle Holder and Gosuke Katoh lined back-to-back doubles and Estevan Florial followed with a triple to the wall in right-center. A wild pitch by Briceno allowed Florial to score, giving Tampa a 4-0 lead.
Briceno (L, 1-4) allowed a season-high four earned runs on eight hits in four and a third innings, walking two while striking out two.
Florial singled in the seventh and advanced to second on a wild pick-off throw by reliever Fernando Perez. Later, Florial scored on a two-out single by Lynch.
RHP Hobie Harris tossed a perfect sixth in relief of Widener before surrendering the lone Lakeland run in the seventh. Maddox legged out an infield single and advanced to third on a base hit by Jake Robson. Robson stole second and drew a high throw down by catcher Sands, allowing Maddox to score.
Tampa got that run back in the eighth when Jhalan Jackson blasted a solo home run over the left field wall off reliever Jake Shull. It was Jackson's first homer since rejoining the T-Yanks and his 11th homer between Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
RHP Matt Frawley collected two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 eighth and RHP Joe Harvey erased a one-out single by Robson by getting Cam Gibson to hit into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play in the ninth.
Florial (2-for-4, 3B, BB, RBI, 2R) has tallied an RBI in each of his last four games, batting .429 (6-for-14) with 6 RBI in that span. Lynch (2-for-5, RBI) and Jackson (2-for-4, HR, RBI, R) also logged multi-hit games.
The series concludes with the final regular-season game of the season on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. LHP Chaz Hebert (2-1, 6.17 ERA) will start against LHP Austin Sodders (4-4, 1.94 ERA). Live audio will be available on the Tampa Yankees Radio Network at 10:50 a.m.
The T-Yanks will then take Monday off to prepare for the Florida State League Championship Series. Game 1 will be in Dunedin at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. Tampa will host Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Wednesday, September 6th at 7:00 p.m. For information on tickets, visit www.tybaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.