TAMPA, Fla. - The wild pitch was the gift that kept on giving Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the Tampa Tarpons (26-25) took down the Palm Beach Cardinals (22-27) in extra innings. Tampa entered the seventh trailing by two; however, the deficit would be erased thanks to
TAMPA, Fla. - The wild pitch was the gift that kept on giving Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the Tampa Tarpons (26-25) took down the Palm Beach Cardinals (22-27) in extra innings. Tampa entered the seventh trailing by two; however, the deficit would be erased thanks to two wild pitches. The game rolled into extras still knotted at seven, and the Tarpons’ best friend, the wild pitch, came back to help them one more time when Henry Gomez unleashed a fastball to the backstop, allowing CF Cole Gabrielson to score and send the Tarpons’ dugout into a frenzy.
RHP Sean Hermann (5.2IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, BB, 6K) continued his strong August, pitching dominantly into the sixth inning. Hermann’s slider was his primary pitch, which averaged 2519 RPM and generated a whiff rate of 40%. The slider racked up three of his six strikeouts en route to Tampa’s victory.
Tampa took an early lead with a two-out rally in the first inning. DH Omar Martinez walked, and 1B Josh Moylan singled to put runners at the corners for Gabrielson. Gabrielson came through, lacing a 102 MPH single to right field to bring home the game's first run. RF Garrett Martin tallied the Tarpons’ third single in a row, plating Moylan to give Tampa the two-run advantage.
Back-to-back singles in the second from 2B Jose Colmenares and C Manuel Palencia turned the lineup over to SS Brenny Escanio, who advanced both runners with a groundout. Two-out runs were the theme for Tampa, as Martinez drove in two more with two away with a 104.7 MPH single to right field. Martinez attempted to take second on the throw home, but Sammy Hernandez threw him out to end the inning.
Martin provided a highlight-reel catch in the third. Hernandez hit a sinking line drive to right, and Martin came flying in to make the play. The line drive had an expected batting average of .930.
Palm Beach strung together a two-out rally of their own in the fourth. With two runners on, Chase Davis singled to center to put the Cardinals on the board. Hernandez followed up Davis with another RBI knock to cut the lead in half, and Dakota Harris beat out an infield single to bring the Cardinals to within one.
Another two-out rally gave Palm Beach the lead in the sixth. RHP Alex Bustamante came in with two away and walked the first two batters he faced. Harris singled to left to knot the game at four. Another free pass loaded the bases for Won-Bin Cho, who cleared the bases with a double to the left field wall.
Colmenares got hit by a changeup, and Palencia picked up his second single of the night to set up Tampa in the seventh. 3B Kiko Romero lined a 100 MPH bullet to right field; however, Palm Beach’s right fielder could not come up with the ball, allowing Colmenares to score. Tampa evened the score at seven without any contact. Two wild pitches allowed Palencia and Martinez to cross the plate and tie the game.
The Cardinals wasted no time putting runners on in the eighth. Davis walked to start the inning, stole second base, and moved to third on an infield single from Hernandez. RHP Ocean Gabonia snared a comebacker and turned it into a double-play to evade any damage and keep the game tied.
After recording the last out in the ninth, Gabrielson started the tenth inning on second as the ghost runner. Martin did his job and moved Gabrielson to third with a deep flyout to left. Colmenares toughed out a twelve-pitch walk to bring Palencia to the plate. The first pitch Palencia saw was a fastball soaring to the backstop, bringing home Gabrielson and letting the celebration start on top of home plate.
The Tarpons will host the Cardinals for a doubleheader at GMS Field tomorrow. Game one will start at 4:00 p.m. with RHP Ryan Harvey leading the way on the mound.