TAMPA, Fla. – Down, 0-2, in a best-of-five series, the Tampa Tarpons held an early lead thanks to home runs by Trey Sweeney and Tyler Hardman, but the Bradenton Marauders tallied four homers among 15 hits en route to an 11-3 victory to complete a sweep to win the 2021
TAMPA, Fla. – Down, 0-2, in a best-of-five series, the Tampa Tarpons held an early lead thanks to home runs by Trey Sweeney and Tyler Hardman, but the Bradenton Marauders tallied four homers among 15 hits en route to an 11-3 victory to complete a sweep to win the 2021 Southeast League Championship on Friday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
RHP Nicio Rodriguez got the start and began by retiring the side in order in the first. Sweeney then gave the Tarpons an early lead with a leadoff home run to right on a 3-2 pitch from RHP Logan Hofmann in the home half.
Abrahan Gutierrez led off the second with a base hit and ended up at third following a wild pitch and a pair of fly outs to right. Rodriguez then got Ernny Ordoñez to ground a ball to third, but Gutierrez scored as Ordoñez reached on an errant throw by Benjamin Cowles.
Maikol Escotto kept the inning alive with a single to center, sending Ordoñez to third. Escotto then stole second, drawing an errant throw by catcher Antonio Gomez, allowing Ordoñez to score to give the Marauders a 2-1 lead.
In the home half, Anthony Garcia worked a leadoff walk and, one out later, scored on a go-ahead two-run homer to left by Hardman. Cowles followed with a double, and Kyle Battle walked before RHP Eddy Yean relieved Hofmann and got Sweeney to line into a 5-4 double play.
Jackson Glenn led off the third with a single to left and, one out later, back-to-back home runs by Dariel López and Gutierrez put Bradenton ahead, 5-3. LHP Michael Giacone entered in relief of Rodriguez and got a pair of strikeouts to end the frame.
Rodriguez (L, 0-1) allowed five runs (three earned) on five hits, walking none while striking out three on 61 pitches (38 strikes) over two and one-third innings.
Giacone worked around a leadoff single in a scoreless fourth to complete an inning and two-thirds of relief. RHP Jhonatan Muñoz took over in the fifth and stranded a one-out double before striking out the side in the sixth.
Yean (W, 1-0) retired eight-straight before Battle and Sweeney lined back-to-back one-out singles in the fifth. Battle took third as Jasson Dominguez reached on a force out before Yean escaped with a groundout by Gomez, preserving a two-run lead for the Marauders.
After retiring six-of-seven, Muñoz issued a leadoff walk in the seventh. Jase Bowen followed with a double to left, and Glenn cleared the bases with a homer to right. Endy Rodriguez then singled and, one out later, Gutierrez crushed a two-run homer to left – his second of the game.
RHP Carlos Gomez struck out Ordoñez to exit the seventh and induced a double play to work around a leadoff single in the eighth. Bradenton then loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a hit-batter in the ninth and scored on a walk by Ordoñez before Gomez escaped.
LHP Tyler Samaniego (H, 1) held Tampa to a pair of walks over scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh. RHP Wandi Montout retired the side in order in the eighth. RHP Oliver Mateo stranded a one-out walk in the ninth to close the game.
Sweeney (2-for-4, HR, RBI, R) logged a multi-hit game. Hardman (1-for-3, HR, BB, 2RBI, R), Cowles (1-for-3, BB) and Battle (1-for-3, BB) also reached base twice.
The Tarpons will be back in action for the 2022 season.