TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the seventh and added two more in the eighth before withstanding a ninth-inning surge by the Dunedin Blue Jays to even the series with a 4-1 victory on Tuesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
RHP Shawn Semple tossed five shutout innings in his second start with Tampa (15-17) but was matched by RHP Joey Murray in his Dunedin (18-12) debut.
After getting double-plays to end the first and second, Semple stranded two runners in the third and worked around a two-out walk in the fourth before working a perfect fifth. The 23-year-old scattered four hits and two walks while striking out three on 85 pitches (53 strikes).
Tyler Hill legged out an infield single and advanced to third on a double by Diego Castillo with one out in the third, but Murray got a pop-out by rehabber Aaron Hicks and struck out Oswaldo Cabrera to escape the jam.
Murray held the Tarpons to two hits and one walk in five innings, tallying six strikeouts on 85 pitches (56 strikes) in his first game since being called up from Single-A Lansing.
Isiah Gilliam drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a base hit by Pablo Olivares in the bottom of the seventh against RHP Turner Larkins (L, 3-2). Dunedin brought the corner infielders in on the grass, expecting a bunt from Donny Sands . Instead, Sands smacked the first pitch back up the middle, off Larkins' foot and into right field for an RBI single.
Olivares advance to third on the play and scored as Welfrin Mateo grounded into a 6-4-3 double-play, giving Tampa a 2-0 lead.
RHP Matt Frawley (W, 1-0) relieved Semple in the sixth and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, stranding a two-out walk in the seventh while striking out three batters in three scoreless innings.
Castillo greeted RHP Matt Shannon with a leadoff single in the eighth and promptly stole second before taking third on a groundout by Hicks. One out later, Steven Sensley smashed a two-run homer to right, doubling the Tampa lead to 4-0.
RHP Kyle Zurak entered in the ninth and Cullen Large laced a leadoff double to left. One out later, Christian Williams singled to left, advancing Large to third. After Sands caught Williams stealing, Large scored on a wild pitch. A walk and a single brought the tying run to the plate, but Demi Orimoloye hit into a fielder's choice force out at second to end the game.
Hicks (0-for-4 batted second as the designated hitter in his second rehab game with the Tarpons. Castillo (2-for-4, 2B, R, SB) logged his second-straight multi-hit game and is batting .368 (7-for-19) in six games to start the month. Sensley (1-for-4, HR, 2RBI, R) clubbed his third homer of the season and his first in 48 plate appearances (4/22 at Charlotte).
The series wraps up with a rubber game on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. RHP Miguel Yajure (1-3, 4.78) is scheduled to start for Tampa as RHP Graham Spraker (3-0, 2.45) goes for Dunedin. Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.
On "WOWW Wednesday," fans can enjoy half-priced Wings, Wine and White Claws from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.