TAMPA, Fla. - Florida opened the scoring with a four-run third, and the Tampa offense never recovered as the Fire Frogs evened the series with a 6-1 win on Saturday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
It was the Tarpons' first loss to the Fire Frogs in Tampa since May 10, 2018. The loss also snaps a nine-game winning streak in the season-series against Florida this season.
RHP Janson Junk stranded a pair of two-out singles in the first and followed with two strikeouts in a perfect second before finding trouble in the third.
An error and a bunt put the first two batters aboard before Riley Delgado pushed a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate. Catcher Donny Sands made a late throw to second, loading the bases. Trey Harris followed with a two-run single to left.
After a walk by Logan Brown, Delgado scored on a sacrifice fly by Jeffry Ramos. Drew Lugbauer followed with an RBI single to right, giving Florida (4-8, 29-49) a 4-0 lead.
Jordan Rodgers reached on a fielder's choice after being ruled safe by umpire John Benken on a close play at first base. Manager Aaron Holbert argued the call and was ejected before Junk struck out Brett Langhorne to end the inning.
Shean Michel worked a leadoff walk, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout before scoring on a two-out single by Harris in the fourth. Harris finished with three hits and three RBI in the game for the Fire Frogs.
Ramos lined a leadoff single in the fifth and advanced to third on a base hit to right by Rodgers before scoring on an infield single by Langhorne, increasing the lead to 5-0.
Junk (L, 2-4) labored through four and two-third innings, yielding six runs (five earned) on eight hits, walking three while striking out three on a season-high 102 pitches (70 strikes).
Tampa (5-6, 33-44) was held hitless by RHP Brooks Wilson until Pablo Olivares lined a leadoff single in the fourth but was doubled off following a lineout to third by Oswaldo Cabrera .
Wilson (W, 1-0) faced one batter over the minimum through as season-high five shutout innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out five on 65 pitches (44 strikes) in his second start of the season.
A fielding error by Langhorne at second base allowed the Tarpons to put runners on the corners with one out in the sixth against RHP Lukas Young. Olivares and Cabrera followed with back-to-back infield singles, scoring a run and loading the bases.
Young escaped the threat by getting Dermis Garcia to ground into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double-play and returned for the seventh to strand a leadoff single by Isiah Gilliam .
RHP Troy Bacon worked around a one-out single by Florial in the eighth before stranding a one-out walk by Gilliam in the ninth to close the game.
LHP James Reeves tallied a season-high five strikeouts while retiring 10-of-11 batters faced (one walk) in three and a third scoreless relief innings. RHP Kyle Zurak added a punchout while working around a hit and a walk in a scoreless ninth.
Olivares (2-for-4, RBI) logged his fifth-straight multi-hit game and is batting .432 (16-for-37) over his last 10 games. Gilliam (1-for-3, BB) also reached base twice and is tied with Olivares for the highest on-base percentage on the team at .359.
RHP Miguel Yajure (4-6, 2.44) is scheduled to face LHP Philip Pfeifer (1-5, 4.99) in the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.
As part of Family Funday Sunday, fans can take advantage of $40 Family 4-Packs, which include four tickets, four hats and four $5 concession vouchers (Family 4-Packs are only available at the George M. Steinbrenner Field Box Office. In addition, Kids 14-and-under can the run the bases after the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.