TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Yankees (30-38) finished the season on a high note after defeating the Lakeland Flying Tigers (34-30) 9-6 on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
After three scoreless frames tossed by Flying Tigers' starter Kevin Eichhorn, the Yankees broke a 0-0 tie in the fourth. Cito Culver led off with a single and advanced after Robert Refsnyder reached on a hit-by-pitch. A groundout by Peter O'Brien moved the runners to second and third before Reymond Nunez collected two RBI with a double to left field. Tyson Blaser followed with a single and scored on a two-RBI double by Dan Fiorito. Cody Grice capped off the scoring with an RBI single, scoring Fiorito and giving Tampa a 5-0 lead.
The bats stayed hot for the Yankees in the fifth. Culver started the frame by hitting his first T-Yanks home run. Refsnyder and O'Brien followed with singles. Two outs later, Fiorito delivered an RBI single, increasing the lead to 7-0.
Yankees' starter Joel De La Cruz (6-3) allowed one hit over five shutout innings. The right-hander walked one and struck out six.
Recent Gulf Coast League call-up RHP Erick Canela relieved De La Cruz in the sixth. Adolfo Reina led off with a single and was erased on a groundball double play by Chad Wright. Devon Travis and Jason Krizan followed with singles and Aaron Westlake put Lakeland on the scoreboard by scoring Travis with an RBI single.
Tampa received some insurance in the bottom of the sixth off of Lakeland reliever Slade Smith. With one out, Taylor Dugas singled. After a pop out by Culver, Refsnyder drew a walk. A single by O'Brien loaded the bases and Nunez doubled to left, scoring Dugas and Refsnyder and giving the Yankees a 9-1 advantage.
Canela struggled in the seventh. Stephen Moya began the frame with a single. One out later, Moya advanced to second on a single by Tyler Hanover. Reina then doubled to right, scoring Moya and sending Hanover to third. Wright followed with an RBI groundout, cutting the deficit to 9-3.
Lakeland tacked on two more runs in the eighth. Krizan singled and Westlake doubled before Dean Green connected on a two-run double to left. Canela allowed a single by Moya before being lifted for RHP Zachary Varce. With no outs, Jeff McVaney walked to load the bases. Varce then struck out Hanover and Reina before walking Wright, forcing in a run and making it a 9-5 game. Varce stuck out Travis to end the inning.
The Flying Tigers brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth with one out. Varce, though, struck out Moya and McVaney to end the game.
Eichhorn (2-6) allowed seven runs on 10 hits and a walk while striking out two in five innings pitched.
Nunez went 2-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI. Fiorito collected three RBI, going 3-for-4 with two doubles.
Each team collected 14 hits.
The T-Yanks end the season with an overall record of 58-78. As part of the Florida State League playoffs, Dunedin will play Daytona in the North and Charlotte will play Fort Myers in the south. The Yankees will return in April to begin the 2014 season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.