LAKELAND, Fla. - A career-best seven scoreless innings by RHP Clarke Schmidt led to the 11th shutout of the season by the Tampa Tarpons in a series-opening 6-0 victory over the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Monday night at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.
For the first time this season, Tampa (23-21, 51-59) is on a four-game winning streak.
Schmidt retired the first six batters he faced before stranding a leadoff single by Jon Rosoff in the third. Lakeland (21-24, 50-60) put two on with one out in the fourth, but Nick Ames lined into an inning-ending 4-6 double-play.
In the fifth, Schmidt worked around a two-out single. After issuing a one-out walk in the sixth, Schmidt struck out the next two hitters to end the frame. Ames drew a one-out walk in the seventh, but Schmidt got Rosoff to ground into an inning-ending 6-3 double-play.
Schmidt (W, 4-4) scattered three hits and three walks over seven shutout innings, tying a season/career-high with nine punchouts while throwing 105 pitches (63 strikes). Doing so, the 23-year-old lowered his ERA to 2.98.
RHP Elvin Rodriguez struck out the side in the first before Alexander Palma lined a leadoff double in the second. Wilkerman Garcia followed with a base hit to right, putting runners on the corners. One out later, a wild pitch allowed Garcia to take second.
Donny Sands followed with a fly ball to left. Leftfielder Chad Sedio backed to the warning track, but the ball fell on the shallow left field grass for an RBI double. Kyle Gray reached on a hit-by-pitch, loading the bases before Garcia scored on a sacrifice fly by Leonardo Molina .
Rodriguez retired 10-straight batters before issuing a two-out walk by Omar Carrizales in the fifth. On the next pitch, Estevan Florial blasted a two-run homer over the wall in right-center, doubling the lead to 4-0. It was Florial's sixth home run, and second in two games.
Palma walked, and Garcia singled to open the sixth. Two outs later, Palma scored as Gray pulled a double off the top of the right field wall. RHP Jason Foley relieved Rodriguez, and Garcia scored as Molina reached on a fielding error by Cole Peterson at shortstop.
Rodriguez (L, 9-7) allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits, two walks and a hit-batter in five and two-third innings, tallying five strikeouts while throwing 62 of 98 pitches for strikes.
RHP Jefry Valdez relieved Schmidt in the eighth and retired the side in order. Sedio reached on a one-out single in the ninth, but Valdez got Kody Clemens to hit into a game-ending 4-6-3 double-play to seal the shutout.
Florial (1-for-4, HR, BB, 2RBI, R) logged his fourth-straight game with an RBI. Garcia (2-for-4, 2R) extended his hitting streak to five games. Pablo Olivares (0-for-2) snapped his hitting streak at 11 games after being replaced in centerfield by Carrizales in the third.
RHP Glenn Otto (1-2, 2.43) is scheduled to open for RHP Miguel Yajure (6-6, 2.06) when the series continues on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. RHP Tom de Blok (0-10, 4.15) is slated to start for the Flying Tigers. Live play-by-play will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.