The Florida Fire Frogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead lead, but could not hang on as they fell 8-5 to the Tampa Tarpons of Friday night at Osceola County Stadium. The loss snaps a team-high, six-game winning streak.
Florida (20-24) used six hits to attack for five runs in the third inning against Phillip Diehl. Garrison Schwartz (2×4, R) bounced an infield single in front of home plate to start the inning, and came around to score the first run on an RBI double down the line in left off the bat of Jordan Rodgers (1×4, R, 2B, RBI). Lucas Herbert (1×4, R, 2B, RBI) followed with an RBI two-bagger of his own to the gap in right-center, and came around to score on Marcus Mooney’s (1×3, R, RBI, BB) RBI knock to left.
Cristian Pache (2×5, R) kept the line moving with a single to left field, and Alejandro Salazar (1×4, RBI) drove home Mooney with a single into left. Brett Cumberland (0x2, RBI, BB) pushed across Pache with a sacrifice fly to center to cap off the inning.
Ian Anderson took the five-run advantage into the sixth, before running into trouble against Tampa (25-21). The right-hander allowed a lead-off double to Diego Castillo before retiring Alexander Palma on a fly out to center.
Don Thompson-Williams delivered a single to center to put runners on the corners for Isiah Gilliam, who sent a runs-scoring single into right and forced Anderson from the game.
Thomas Burrows took over out of the bullpen and allowed an RbI single to Hoy Jun Park, which was followed by a two-run double to the gap in right-center off the bat of Brandon Wagner to cut the Fire Frogs lead down to one and end the line for Anderson.
The 20-year-old starting pitcher finished the night with four runs allowed on seven hits, and tied a season-high with seven strikeouts without issuing a walk for the first time this season in the no-decision.
Devan Watts (0-2) started the eighth inning in search of his fifth save in as many chances in 2018, but surrendered three runs to watch the home team’s lead turn into a two-run deficit.
Wagner drew a one-out free pass against the reliever, and scored on Kellin Deglan’s RBI double to tie the game at five apiece. Ben Ruta delivered a go-ahead double to the wall in left to put the Fire Frogs behind by a run. Diego Castillo flared a single into left to bring home Ruta to put Florida in a two-run hole.
Mauricio Cabrera allowed a lead-off home run off the bat of Thompson Williams in the ninth to create the game’s finally tally.
The visitor’s bullpen retired the final 16 Fire Frogs that stepped to the plate on Friday, with David Sosebee (3-2) earning the win with three scoreless frames. Matt Wivinis (SV, 1) picked up his first save with Tampa by tossing a perfect ninth.
Florida looks to bounce back from the tough loss on Saturday night in game three of the four-game set at Osceola County Stadium. RHP Connor Johnstone (1-1, 1.02) takes the mound for his second start of the season, against RHP Adonis Rosa (4-1, 4.50). First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m., with coverage beginning at 4:45 p.m. with the Florida Fire Frogs Pregame Show on the Florida Fire Frogs Broadcasting Network.