BRADENTON, Fla. - A pair of two-out RBI hits by Dermis Garcia and Isiah Gilliam - both named 2019 Florida State League All-Stars earlier in the day - held up while RHP Janson Junk and LHP JP Sears combined for 13 strikeouts as the Tampa Tarpons defeated the Bradenton Marauders, 2-1, to even the series on Friday night at LECOM Park.
Oswaldo Cabrera blasted a double over the head of centerfielder Travis Swaggerty with one out in the top of the first. One out later, Garcia lined a double to the wall in right-centerfield, scoring Cabrera for a 1-0 lead.
RHP Cody Bolton retired the next five batters until Pablo Olivares lined a one-out single in the third. Olivares advanced to second on a groundout by Cabrera, and Gilliam followed with an RBI single to left, giving Tampa (21-26) a 2-0 advantage.
Junk stranded a base runner a third in the first, worked around a double and a walk in the second and left a one-out single on base in the third, extending his scoreless innings streak to 15 and a third frames.
Lucas Tancas lashed a leadoff double in the fourth and, one out later, Junk's streak ended as Deon Stafford pulled an RBI single into left, cutting the lead to 2-1. Chase Lambert reached on a fielder's choice but was thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
Junk returned for the fifth but allowed an infield single by Swaggerty and left with two outs and a runner at second. The 23-year-old tallied seven strikeouts while holding Bradenton (26-21) to one earned run on six hits and one walk in four and two-third innings, throwing 60 of 89 pitches for strikes.
Sears entered in relief and retired the first six batters he faced before yielding a two-out single by Jesse Medrano in the seventh. The southpaw got Swaggerty on a groundout to end the seventh and worked around a hit-batter in the eighth before tossing a perfect ninth to close out the game.
Bolton (L, 5-3) logged a quality start, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six innings. The 20-year-old tied a season-high with eight strikeouts while not allowing a walk on 96 pitches (63 strikes).
Garcia (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) collected his league-leading 33rd RBI. Gilliam (1-for-3, BB, RBI, SB) tallied his eighth stolen base and has now drawn a walk in six-straight games. Steven Sensley (2-for-4, 2B, SB) is batting .333 (9-for-27) over his last eight games.
Sears (W, 2-1) tied a season-high with six strikeouts without issuing a walk and held the Marauders to one hit in four and a third scoreless innings, throwing 63 pitches (49 strikes).
The series continues on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. when the Tarpons battle the "Barbanegras," which is Bradenton's "Copa de la Diversión" identity. Tampa's starting pitcher is TBA while RHP Aaron Shortridge (3-1, 3.56) is scheduled to start for Bradenton. Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.