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Estevan Florial went 2-for-5 with a triple and 2 RBIs in an Opening Day victory for the Tampa Tarpons (Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Tarpons)

The Tarpons-Era Opens With A Victory

The newly-renamed Tampa Tarpons opened their 2018 season with a victory over the Lakeland Tiger, in thrilling comeback fashion.

Getting the start for the Tarpons was RHP Trevor Stephan. The #23 rated prospect according to Pinstriped Prospects had a decent performance for the team going 4+ IP allowing three hits two earned runs one homerun one walk while striking out seven and hitting three batters.

Stephan’s fastball was clocked between 91-93mph and touched 96 twice but he struggled to command the inside of the plate to right-handed batters. His slider was sharp at times and contributed to most of his punch-out’s. His secondary breaking pitch sat at 73 and kept hitters off balance early on. Stephan ran into trouble in the third allowing a home run to shortstop Isaac Paredes in the third and was relieved in the fourth after allowing a base hit.

Trevor Stephan struck out seven batters in 4 innings for the Tampa Tarpons. (Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Tarpons)

On the opposing side, LHP Gregory Soto the Tigers #8 prospect according to mlb.com kept Tarpon hitters off balanced for the first five innings allowing one hit two walks while striking out five across as many innings. The Tarpons were unable to break through for runs until the seventh inning against reliever Alfred Gutierrez. Down 2-0 in the top of the 7th DH Tim Lynch pushed a bunt down the third base line to beat the shift to get the rally going. Catcher Francisco Diaz followed that with a walk then back to back RBI singles by SS Diego Castillo and CF Estevan Florial tied the game heading into the bottom of the 7th.

Adonis Rosa pitching for the Tarpons, he earned the victory.(Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Tarpons)

Adonis Rosa, the winning pitcher came on in relief of Stephan in the fifth. Rosa proceeded to shut the Tigers offense down going four innings allowing three hits recording three strikeouts with one walk.

With the game tied in the ninth C Francisco Diaz led off with a walk. Angel Aguilar moved him over with a textbook sac bunt. SS Diego Castillo would follow with his second RBI single of the game and Estevan Florial brought him home with a standup triple to provide an insurance run. Castillo, Florial and 2B Hoy Park all had multi-hit games.

Relief pitcher David Sosebee came in to finish the game off in the ninth allowed one hit and a walk before getting Daz Cameron to fly out to center in front of the crowd of 2,060 at Publix Field at Joker Merchant Stadium.

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