TAMPA - Kyle Higashioka drove in three runs to help the Tampa Yankees (8-7) defeat the Daytona Tortugas (9-5), 4-1 on Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Yankees' starter RHP Eric Ruth surrendered a home run to Phillip Ervin to begin the ball game. That would be the only run the T-Yanks' pitching staff would allow.
Ruth (1-0) allowed one run on three hits and two walks in a career-high six innings. The right-hander struck out four and earned his first win of the season.
A night when Matt Snyder took a day off, Higashioka batted in the cleanup spot. The Tampa catcher did not disappoint, going 2-for-4 with the game-winning hit.
Mark Payton lined a ball off the outstretched mitt of first-baseman Robert Ramirez for a single into right field to begin the sixth. Tyler Wade followed with a liner into left. Left-fielder Sebastien Elizalde misplayed the ball, allowing the runners to reach second and third. One out later, Higashioka gave Tampa the lead with a two-run single into center.
Amir Garrett (0-1) took the loss for Daytona. The southpaw allowed two runs on six hits in six innings of work, striking out six while not issuing a walk.
Tampa added some insurance off the Tortuga bullpen in the eighth. With Payton at second, Wade hit an RBI single into left-center field. Wade then stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw by catcher Joe Hudson. After a walk by Miguel Andujar, Higashioka bounced an RBI single into center field.
RHP Luis Niebla pitched two scoreless relief innings for Tampa, working around a single while striking out three. RHP Angel Rincon picked up his second save of the season after stranding two base runners in a scoreless ninth.
Wade went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and now as at least two hits in eight of his last nine games. Ericson Leonora hit his fourth double in as many games, going 1-for-3.
The series continues on Friday at 7:00 p.m. when LHP Connor Kenrick (0-1, 18.90 ERA) takes the hill for the T-Yanks. RHP Nick Howard (2-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to throw for the Tortugas. Friday is Bright House Networks Customer Appreciation Night. Bright House Networks customers can bring their bill to the stadium for free tickets to the game (up to eight).
Every Friday Tampa Yankees home game, all Social Media Fans/Followers can enjoy $2 admission. All fans can enjoy half price drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and $10 all-you-can-eat chicken wings on the Walgreens Deck from 6:00-8:00pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.