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Baby Bombers Blast 4 Homers, Bash Mets, 15-7

Cooper Clubs Grand Slam in 5 RBI Game
Cooper Bowman slaps high-fives in the dugout after clubbing a grand slam in the 6th in Tampa's 15-7 win on Saturday afternoon at GMS Field. (Mark LoMoglio)
August 21, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. – Powered by four home runs, including a grand slam by Cooper Bowman, the Tampa Tarpons (63-29) crushed the St. Lucie Mets (49-43), 15-7, on Saturday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field. St. Lucie strung together three one-out hits in the first to open the scoring against RHP

TAMPA, Fla. – Powered by four home runs, including a grand slam by Cooper Bowman, the Tampa Tarpons (63-29) crushed the St. Lucie Mets (49-43), 15-7, on Saturday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

St. Lucie strung together three one-out hits in the first to open the scoring against RHP Blas Castano. Alexander Ramirez and Brandon McIlwain both singled, and Ramirez scored on a double to right by Warren Saunders. A groundout by Juan Uriarte allowed McIlwain to cross the plate, giving the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

After going down in order against RHP Jose Chacin in the first, Tampa responded in the second. Madison Santos lined a leadoff double to center and, one out later, Tyler Hardman reached on an error before Ben Rice blasted a three-run home run to left-center – his first-career home run – to put the Tarpons ahead, 3-2.

Castano bounced back, retiring the side in order in the second, and stranding a pair of singles in the third before St. Lucie got a two-out RBI double by Cesar Berbesi to tie the game at 3-3 in the fourth.

Carlos Narvaez drew a walk, and Hardman reached on a hit-by-pitch to begin the home half of the fourth. Both runners advanced on a groundout before scoring on a two-run double to center by Eric Wagaman, giving Tampa a 5-3 lead.

Following two quick outs in the fifth, Santos walked and took third on a base hit by Narvaez before scoring on a liner to left by Hardman. The two-out rally prompted the end of the day for Chacin (L, 3-2). The right-hander allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks over four and two-third innings, striking out three on 85 pitches (50 strikes).

After tossing a perfect fifth, Castano returned for the sixth and issued a leadoff walk to Uriarte, followed by a 2-run homer by Jose Colina, cutting the lead to 6-5. Castano (W, 3-1) allowed five runs on eight hits and one walk, tallying six strikeouts on 82 pitches (57 strikes).

RHP Franklin Parra completed the fifth for St. Lucie before returning for the sixth. A pair of walks and an infield single loaded the bases with no outs, and Bowman blasted a grand slam over the left field wall. Santos then walked, stole second and third before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Hardman, capping a five-run frame for an 11-5 advantage.

Juan De Leon crushed a leadoff homer to left (his eighth) off RHP Nolan Clenney in the seventh. Jasson Dominguez then reached on a hit-by-pitch and scored on a line drive triple to the wall in center by Trey Sweeney. Bowman followed with an RBI groundout, giving Tampa a 14-5 lead.

Wellington Diaz (H, 1) relieved Castano in the sixth and held St. Lucie scoreless until the eighth, when a one-out walk ran home on a double into the left field corner by Berbesi. RHP Carson Coleman entered in relief, and Berbesi scored on a base hit to left by Omar De Los Santos. Ramirez then singled to right before Coleman struck out McIlwain to end the inning.

Hardman became the fourth Tampa batter to homer when he did so off Clenney to lead off the bottom of the eighth, hitting a ball off the video board in left-center – his first-career home run – to give the Tarpons a 15-7 lead.

Coleman returned for the ninth and picked up two more strikeouts while retiring the side in order to close the game.

Bowman (1-for-5, HR, 5RBI, R), Hardman (2-for-3, HR, 3RBI, 3R), Rice (1-for-3, HR, 2BB, 3RBI, R) and Wagaman (2-for-5, 2B, 2RBI) each logged a multi-RBI game. All nine batters recorded a hit.

The series concludes with a Sunday matinee at 12:00 p.m., with RHP Beck Way (3-1, 2.98) scheduled to square off against RHP Kolby Kubichek (0-0, 4.50). On Stay Local Sunday, when fans purchase two (2) Tarpons Sunday game tickets, they receive one (1) FREE pass to a local area attraction.