Lakeland Scores Late, Tampa Splits Series

King Ks 7 in Tarpons Debut

RHP Michael King made a quality start (6.1IP, 6H, 1ER, 1BB, 7K) in his debut with the Tampa Tarpons. (Mark LoMoglio)

By Nick Flammia | April 8, 2018 3:44 PM

TAMPA, Fla. -- Pablo Olivares hit a game-tying home run in the seventh, but the Lakeland Flying Tigers (2-2) scored two late runs and held on to beat the Tampa Tarpons (2-2), 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.


Tampa put runners on base in the second, third and fourth innings against Lakeland starter Anthony Castro. The right-hander found a way through it all as the Tarpons finished with 11 men left on base and went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.


RHP Michael King impressed early in his first start with Tampa, tallying five strikeouts in the first two innings. King kept Lakeland off the board until the fifth, when Austin Athmann hooked a double into the left field corner and scored on a two-out single by Derek Hill.


Olivares led off the seventh and tied the game by hitting a home run just over the left field wall off Lakeland reliever Spenser Watkins (W, 1-0). The Flying Tigers promptly answered off RHP Hobie Harris (L, 0-1) in the eighth, when Chad Sedio was hit by a pitch and scored on a triple to the wall in right-center by Blaise Salter.


Lakeland added insurance in the ninth when Anthony Pereira greeted RHP Christian Morris with a leadoff home run.


The Tarpons threatened once again in the bottom of the ninth, putting the tying runs on base against Lakeland closer Eduardo Jimenez. After walking Estevan Florial to load the bases, Jimenez (SV, 2) got Brandon Wagner to fly out to left, ending the game.


King made a quality start, holding the Flying Tigers to one earned run on six hits in six and a third innings. The New York native walked one, struck out seven and threw 62 of 88 pitches for strikes in his first start since being traded from the Miami Marlins.


Castro scattered four hits and three walks while striking out five over four and two-third innings, throwing 43 of 75 pitches for strikes.


Wagner (2-for-5) and Olivares (2-for-4, R, HR, RBI) had the lone multi-hit games for Tampa.


Up next, the Tarpons begin a seven-game road trip in St. Lucie on Monday at 6:30 p.m. RHP Nick Green (0-0, -.--) will start the opener of a four-game series against the Mets, facing RHP Gary Cornish (0-0, -.--). Live audio of the series will be available on the St. Lucie Mets Broadcast Network.


The Tarpons return home on Tuesday, April 17th, to face the Daytona Tortugas, marking the start of a six-game home stand. On "Tasty Tuesday," enjoy a $24 all-you-can-eat menu from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., including: hot dogs, chicken tenders, nachos, fries, popcorn, and fountain soda.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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