SARASOTA -- Lakewood Ranch lost its opener in the Sarasota Baseball Classic, but the Mustangs found themselves a starting pitcher.
Tyler Mattes, a sophomore used mostly in relief, started and went a season-high six innings, allowing five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. He did not allow an earned run.
The right-hander left with the scored tied at 1 and did not figure in the decision, with the Mustangs losing 5-1 to Miami Palmetto on Tuesday at Twin Lakes Park.
"He did a great job mixing up his pitches working in and out and getting ahead in the count," Lakewood Ranch head coach Ryan Kennedy said. "He is more of a reliever-type guy, but we are just now getting him into more of a starting role. He started a couple of games and has done well. It seemed like he started to get stronger towards the middle part of the game, and as a coach that is something you get excited about."
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Palmetto (7-8) took a 1-0 lead in the second on a dropped fly ball that put a runner on second, and the Panthers followed that up with a run-scoring single.
"It's one of those things where the outfielder lost that ball in the sun when they got their first run," Kennedy said. "But you still have to execute, like getting the bunt down and doing the small ball things that we do."
Lakewood Ranch (6-8) tied it in the fourth when Chris Pearcey singled, Matt Roberts walked, and Logan Clark got an RBI single.
"I felt pretty good today. I am excited to be a starter. It felt good out there," Mattes said. "I learned today to keep your head up, and you will get through anything. This is the longest I've pitched since I've been in high school. My arm was gone. I was OK with leaving the game."
Joey Ambrosino came on in the seventh and shut down the Panthers. Lakewood Ranch had a chance to get him a win in the bottom of the inning when Colton Chupp and Justin Otis singled. With two outs and runners on first and second, Pearcey hit a hard shot that a diving Palmetto second baseman snagged on one hop to throw him out.
Palmetto erupted for four runs in the top of the eighth, knocking out three hits, including a triple and double and a bunt single.
"Pearcey came up and hit the ball hard and a great play was made on it," Kennedy said. "We are making mistakes and just trying to correct them. It's not where you start (the season). It's where you finish, and we are battling to fix our mistakes."
Lakewood Ranch plays Miami Springs at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at Buck O'Neil Complex at Twin Lakes Park.