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TARPON SPRINGS — For the first five innings, Tarpon Springs could not figure out Dunedin pitcher Colyn O’Connell. In fact, the Spongers didn’t have a hit against the senior right-hander.
But the third time through the lineup proved to be the charm.
Tarpon Springs erupted for six hits and seven runs in the sixth inning Wednesday to battle back from a four-run deficit and defeat the Falcons 8-5. The big blow came from Hunter Bonner, who had an RBI triple. It was the first hit of the game off O’Connell and it led to five more hits in the inning.
“He threw strikes,” Bonner said. “He just pounded the zone. His curveball was on until it started cutting off around the middle of the game.
“All I was trying to do was see the ball and hit it hard. When I hit it I knew it was going to get down.”
Tarpon Springs spotted Dunedin four runs on just one hit thanks to walks and errors.
Starter Caleb Koulianos settled down and did not allow another run until the seventh.
Tarpon Springs (6-3) managed a run without a hit in the fourth when Bonner reached on a walk and got to third on two wild pitches. He scored on an error to make it 4-1.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cole Miklavcic reached on a dropped third strike and stole second. Bonner then laced his triple to right to make it 4-2. Tommy Grill drove in Bonner with a single. Koulianos and Brendan Overton singled to load the bases. Kyle Johnson singled home two runs to give the Spongers their first lead.
“Against Dunedin I think we go into it a little scared,” Spongers coach Dickie Hart said. “We needed to change the culture, and I thought tonight would be a good time to do it.
“Then we give up four in the first and I’m mad at everyone on the team. But I’m proud of the way they kept battling and didn’t give up.”
In the top of the seventh Dunedin (4-4) had the bases loaded with one out. But Koulianos got outs from Ben Emery and O’Connell to end the game.