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Tarpons' Offensive Struggles Continue, Fall 9-3 to Mets

May 18, 2022 - Florida State League (FSL) - Tampa Tarpons News Release

TAMPA, Fla. - The Tampa Tarpons (14-20) started Wednesday's contest off on the wrong foot, literally and figuratively speaking - dropping the second game of their six-game set against the St. Lucie Mets, 9-3. It was another tough day for the Tarpons at the plate as their offensive woes led them to strike out 15 times and strand 11 runners on base.

RHP Yon Castro (0-2) drew the start for the Tarpons with the goal of snapping a three-game losing streak. Castro was unable to catch a break and found himself in some early trouble. After a twenty-minute delay for impending weather, Castro pitched to only one batter before home plate umpire Matthew Watkowski signaled that he had to change his cleats.

Maybe those new cleats needed a little more breaking in...

The Mets (25-10) jumped on Castro right away as William Lugo crushed a double over the head of LF Alan Mejia, scoring Stanley Consuegra. Next up, Carlos Dominguez made his presence known with a towering blast that cleared the left field fence by a mile. It was Dominguez' ninth home run of the year, and put the Mets out in front, 3-0.

Castro found his footing in the second inning, and it translated into the third.

Unfortunately for the Tarpons, the flood gates opened in the fourth and the Mets poured on the runs. Lugo led off the inning with his second double of the game, followed by Dominguez who singled on a line drive to left field. With runners on the corners and no outs, Jack-Thomas Wold drove in Lugo with an opposite field RBI single. Junior Tilien also added an RBI single the other way to score a run, and Kevin Villavicencio doubled in another. Alex Ramirez concluded the damage with a SAC Fly, giving the Mets a commanding 7-0 lead.

Manager Rachel Balkovec called upon left-hander Ryan Anderson to relieve Castro after 4.1 innings of work. Castro finished with an absolute eye sore of a stat line - 7H, 7ER, 1BB, 6K, 1HR.

Mets' starter Calvin Ziegler was cruising until the bottom of the fifth inning when he walked the bases loaded. With two outs, SS Alexander Vargas ripped a grounder between both defenders on the right side of the infield to drive in two runs to cut the deficit to 7-2.

St. Lucie immediately answered with two runs of their own off the bat of Consuegra, who roped one up the middle for an RBI single to bring in Tilien and Ramirez.

The Tarpons loaded the bases again in the bottom of the sixth but were unable to capitalize as RF Kyle Battle grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the frame.

Jasson Dominguez chipped away another run with an RBI single in the seventh on a blooper that dropped in right over the short stop's reach. Villavicencio tried to nail 1B Connor Cannon at the plate, but the throw was tardy.

RHP Zach Messinger was a bright spot for the Tarpons, racking up 3Ks over two scoreless innings of work.

As for the rest of the game, Tampa stranded two men on base in both the bottom of the eighth and ninth inning as they dropped their fourth contest in a row, 9-3.

The Tarpons and Mets return to action tomorrow night for game three of a six game series. RHP Richard Fitts is scheduled to make the start, with the first pitch thrown at 6:30 PM EST.

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