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Mussels win four of six against Tarpons, host Flying Tigers next

By Staff | Jun 10, 2024

Winokur catches fire, Mussels sop Tampa finale, 8-4

TAMPA – Brandon Winokur homered and reached base four times Sunday, but the Tampa Tarpons defeated the Mighty Mussels 8-4 at Steinbrenner Field.

Winokur connected on his second home run of the series in the fourth inning, a solo shot to right field against Tampa (21-36) starter Cade Smith (3-4). The California native finished 3-for-3 against Smith, while the rest of the team went 1-for-15 with 11 strikeouts.

Tampa didn’t waste time jumping in front against Mussels’ starter Spencer Bengard (2-1). In a scoreless game in the bottom of the second, Bengard walked two batters before Brenny Escanio shot a two-run single into left to make it 2-0 Tarpons.

Still up by that margin in the third, Roderick Arias dropped a ground rule double down the left field line. The next batter was Christopher Familia, who doubled to the wall in left center to make it 3-0. After Familia reached third on a wild pitch, Jasso drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center to cap the inning at 4-0.

Winokur made it 4-1 with his home run in the fourth, but Tampa responded with a Tomas Frick solo homer to extend the lead to 5-1 in the fourth.

After the Mussels (28-29) scored twice without a hit in the top of the seventh, Tampa strung together three hits in the bottom of the inning to reclaim a four-run advantage.

The Mighty Mussels will return home Tuesday to begin a six-game series with the Lakeland Flying Tigers at 7:05 p.m. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on the Mighty Mussels Baseball Network.

Eeles grand slam sinks Tarpons

TAMPA – Payton Eeles flipped Saturday’s game upside down, demolishing a grand slam that highlighted a seven-run seventh inning that spurred the Mighty Mussels to an 8-5 win over the Tampa Tarpons at Steinbrenner Field.

Fort Myers (28-28) entered the inning trailing 4-1, with Tampa (20-36) pitching having retired 16 out of the last 17 batters. Rixon Wingrove led off the inning with a single before Montana Semmel walked the next two batters. With the bases loaded and no one out, Ryan McCarthy shot a single into left to cut the deficit to 4-3.

After another walk loaded the bases, Eeles turned on an 0-1 pitch, launching it over the right field bleachers for a grand slam to put Fort Myers on top 7-4. The ball left Eeles’ bat at 105.9 mph and traveled 383 feet, approximately 50 feet beyond the right field fence. After two more walks, Maddux Houghton drove in another run with an infield single to cap the inning at 8-4.

Christopher Familia added a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, but Xander Hamilton tossed two scoreless frames to notch the save.

Mussels’ lefty Ross Dunn (1-0) logged four innings in relief to get the win, allowing just one run on four hits while fanning three.

Eeles finished the night 2-for-5 with two runs scored. He tripled to begin the game and came around to score on a Walker Jenkins ground out. Tampa responded with four unanswered runs against starting pitcher Charlee Soto before Fort Myers took the lead in the seventh.

Aguiar homers twice as Mussels’ win streak snapped

TAMPA – Carlos Aguiar drilled a pair of home runs Friday, but the Tampa Tarpons scored early and often in a 17-7 Tampa win at Steinbrenner Field.

The Tarpons’ (20-35) victory snapped the Mussels’ (27-28) seven-game winning streak, their longest of the season. The 17 runs Fort Myers allowed were the most they’ve surrendered in a single game all season.

Despite the loss, Fort Myers jumped in front in the top of the second. Isaac Pena drew a one-out walk before Ryan McCarthy ripped an RBI double down the right field line to make it 1-0. The next batter was Payton Eeles, who lined a base hit to left to make it 2-0.

The Tarpons quickly responded in the bottom of the second. Hans Montero singled before Tomas Frick walked with two outs. Daury Arias followed and cranked a three-run homer over the bleachers in right to give Tampa a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the third, the Tarpons scored twice on walks before a George Lombard sacrifice fly made it 6-3. Roderick Arias then smoked a three-run homer to cap the rally at 9-2 Tampa.

Fort Myers responded with Aguiar’s first home run in the fourth, a three-run shot that made the score 9-5.

The Tarpons continued to chip away against Mussels’ reliever Paulshawn Pasqualotto. A Willy Montero homer in the fourth made it 12-5 before a Max Burt double in the fifth extended the lead to 14-5. With one out in the sixth, Roderick Arias crushed a bases clearing double to the wall in center to cap the offensive night at 17-5.

Aguiar’s line drive home run in the eighth cut the final margin to 17-7. Both of his home runs left the bat at over 101 mph.