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Cowles, Sweeney Homer as Tampa Squeaks Out 4-3 Win Over Clearwater

Benjamin Cowles clubbed his first professional home run in Tampa's 4-3 victory on Saturday afternoon. (Mark LoMoglio)
August 14, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. – Despite getting outhit, 11-3, the Tampa Tarpons managed to find a way to defeat the Clearwater Threshers, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Two of the three Tampa hits were game-tying home runs by Trey Sweeney and Ben Cowles, and an RBI hit-by-pitch by

TAMPA, Fla. – Despite getting outhit, 11-3, the Tampa Tarpons managed to find a way to defeat the Clearwater Threshers, 4-3, on Saturday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Two of the three Tampa hits were game-tying home runs by Trey Sweeney and Ben Cowles, and an RBI hit-by-pitch by Ben Rice proved to be the game-winner in an otherwise offensive struggle.

The contest began with back-to-back doubles by Casey Martin and Luis Garcia, with Martin holding up at third. One out later, Johan Rojas served an RBI single to left and proceeded to steal second. Rojas then got caught between second and third on a groundout by T.J. Rumfield, and Garcia broke for the plate but was tagged out on a 3-6-2 inning-ending double-play.

Sweeney quickly tied the score with a line drive home run over the wall in right. It was Sweeney’s second-career home run, and first since joining Tampa. According to Statcast, the blast registered an exit velocity of 108.4 mph.

After limiting the damage in the first, RHP Nicio Rodriguez hit Jared Carr with a pitch to open the second. One out later, Carr stole second and took third as Arturo De Freitas reached on an error before Freylin Minyety lined an RBI single to left. Rodriguez then struck out Martin, and the frame ended when De Fretias was thrown out attempting to advance on a pitch in the dirt.

Once again, the Tarpons answered in the home half. This time, it was Cowles leading off the frame with his first professional home run – a blast over the wall in right-center.

Rodriguez held Clearwater scoreless in the third and fourth to complete his outing. The 21-year-old allowed two runs on six hits over four innings, walking none while striking out four on 56 pitches (35 strikes) in a no-decision.

RHP Dylan Castaneda started and completed four innings for the Threshers, yielding two runs on two hits and two walks while tallying a career-high seven strikeouts on 72 pitches (43 strikes).

LHP Christopher Soriano relieved Castaneda in the fifth and retired six-straight Tarpons before Cowles walked to open the seventh. After advancing to second on a balk, Cowles took third on a single to left by Carlos Narvaez and scored on a wild pitch. RHP Maikel Garrido then relieved Soriano and, after issuing a walk, retired Jasson Dominguez and Sweeney to strand a pair.

RHP Blas Castano took the hill for Tampa in the fifth and scattered two singles, a walk, and a hit-batter over his first three scoreless innings. In the eighth, Ethan Wilson jumped on Castano’s first pitch and smashed it for a home run to right, tying the game at 3-3.

In the bottom of the eighth, RHP Alex McKenney (L, 1-1) took over for Clearwater and, with one out, walked three-straight Tarpons. McKenney then struck out Narvaez, but Rice followed by reaching on a hit-by-pitch to force in a go-ahead run, giving Tampa a 4-3 lead.

Castano (W, 2-1) allowed one run on four hits and one walk in four innings, striking out one on 55 pitches (34 strikes) to pick up the win in relief. RHP Enrique Santana (SV, 1) stranded a one-out infield single by getting a pair of groundouts by Martin and Garcia to preserve the victory in the ninth.

The series concludes with a Sunday matinee at 12:00 p.m., with RHP Blane Abeyta (3-2, 5.76) scheduled to square off against RHP Hsin-Chieh Lin (0-2, 7.15). On Stay Local Sunday, when fans purchase two (2) Tarpons Sunday game tickets, they receive one (1) FREE pass to a local area attraction.