TAMPA – Chaz Hebert threw five no-hit innings and earned his first win of the season with the Tampa Yankees (10-8) in a 3-2 final against the Clearwater Threshers (9-9) on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Despite a leadoff walk by Mitchell Walding in the third, Hebert (1-1) faced the minimum 15 batters in five innings of work. A strikeout/caught-stealing double play would allow Hebert to face only three Clearwater batters in the third. The southpaw tallied three strikeouts in his first win in High-A ball.
Mike Ford hit a two-run single in the fourth as the first hit for either team. LHP Brandon Leibrandt walked Mark Payton before Jose Pirela reached on an error at third by Walding. A second error on the play by Walding allowed the runners to advance to second and third. Leibrandt hit Miguel Andujar, loading the bases for Ford. Andujar later scored on a wild pitch, giving Tampa a 3-0 lead.
Leibrandt (1-1) allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits in six innings, walking one while striking out four.
RHP Gabe Encinas relieved Hebert in the sixth and took the no-hitter into the seventh. That’s when Clearwater second baseman Angelo Mora hit a leadoff single into right-center. Mora later scored on a sacrifice fly by Zach Green.
Encinas walked the leadoff man in the eighth and RHP Conor Mullee took over with one out and the tying run at the plate. After a fly-out by Mora, Andrew Pullin doubled to right field. A bobble on the relay by Angelo Gumbs allowed a run to score.
Mullee worked into the ninth. With two outs, Walding singled to center and advanced on a passed ball by Kyle Higashioka. The Threshers brought in Devin Cozens as a pinch-hitter. With an infield shift on by the Yankees, Gumbs made up for is prior error with a sliding play in right field to end the game. Mullee earned his third save.
Pirela played as the designated hitter and hit second in his first game with Tampa as part of his rehab assignment. The New York Yankee rookie went 0-for-4 with a run scored. Pirela is returning from a concussion suffered on March 22nd in Spring Training.
The series continues on Monday when RHP Jonathan Holder (1-0, 1.76 ERA) takes the hill for the T-Yanks. RHP Victor Arano (0-1, 5.40 ERA) is expected to throw for the Threshers. Monday is Running Club Day and the first 500 fans through the gate will receive a TY water bottle, courtesy of BayCare.
Every Monday Tampa Yankees home game, all Military will receive FREE admission with a valid military I.D. All fans can enjoy half price burgers and chicken tender baskets from 6:00-8:00pm.