LAKELAND, Fla. – Connor Kendrick combined with two relievers to hold the Lakeland Flying Tigers (7-13) to two hits as the Tampa Yankees (12-9) opened a four-game series with a 7-1 win on Thursday night at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Matt Snyder belted a three-run home run high into the wind blowing over the wall in right field to give the T-Yanks a lead in the top of the first. Following back-to-back one-out singles by Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar, Snyder connected on his second long-ball of the season.
Kendrick (1-1) dealt five quality innings and earned his first win of the season. The southpaw surrendered a solo home run in the first by Dominic Ficociello and a ground-rule double to Bobby Borchering in the fifth. Those would be the only hits in the game by the Flying Tigers. Kendrick worked around a pair of walks and tallied five strikeouts.
RHP Tommy Collier (2-1) allowed a career-high five walks in the loss for Lakeland. Collier struck out three and allowed three runs on six hits in five innings of work.
Luis Niebla tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Kendrick. The right-hander walked one batter and struck out three. Niebla has now struck out 14 batters in 12 relief innings while holding opponents to a .077 batting average this season.
Tampa rallied for four more runs in the top of the ninth. Danny Oh and Angelo Gumbs singled to place runners on the corners. Mark Payton drove in a run while reaching on a fielder’s choice. After a walk by Wade, Andujar connected with an RBI single to left. Snyder followed by driving in a run with a single to right and Mike Ford capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly, driving in Andujar.
RHP Angel Rincon pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to complete the 2-hitter for the Yankees.
Ericson Leonora (1-for-5) and Wade (1-for-3, 2 BB) extended their hit-streaks to nine games. Snyder (3-for-5) collected four RBI and owns a team-high 17. Andujar (3-for-5) collected three singles and an RBI, scoring twice.
The series continues on Friday at 7:00 p.m. in Tampa at George M. Steinbrenner Field. RHP Rookie Davis (1-1, 1.66 ERA) will make his fifth start of the season for Tampa. Lakeland will counter with LHP Locke St. John (0-2, 6.06 ERA). As part of Fight Like A Kid Night, ALL ticket proceeds from the night will go to 3-year old Salvatore who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer. He is planning to be in attendance to throw out the first pitch.