Coming in to Friday night's game between North Port and hosting Charlotte, a pitcher's duel was expected.
As two of the top pitchers in the area, Charlotte's Kyle Machado and North Port's Alex Partridge took the mound and virtually controlled the game in a low-scoring affair.
"It's a great feeling between pitchers to not let up many hits or many runs," Machado said. "I had pretty good control of my fastball and I could move in and out with it and manipulate my cutter and curveball and throw batter's timing off."
Though Charlotte earned the 2-0 win, both pitchers excelled.
Machado, a commit of Florida Gulf Coast, went six innings with no runs on three hits while fanning eight. Partridge went the distance, allowing one earned and four hits with seven strikeouts.
"Alex did everything that we asked," North Port coach Miles Mayer said. "He battled. Unfortunately there were some errors that bit us in the butt, but that's the game of baseball. We talked about it to the whole team, he did his job. Hats off to him for keeping it two nothing because it could've easily blown up."
With the pitchers battling on the mound, it only took a few mistakes to swing the game in Charlotte's favor.
In the bottom of the first inning, Charlotte got on base with a single from Kevin Conway, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch. An error in right field off a deep shot from third baseman Bryce Hayes moved Conway to third and Hayes to second for Aaron Martins, who cleared the bases.
That was about all the offensive excitement fans got with the exception of a hit here or there.
"Situational hitting and cutting down on the swings a bit," Charlotte coach Lavell Cudjo said of where the Tarpons could improve. "The bats aren't really where they should be, but when you face good pitchers you expect it, but I think consistently, as far as situational hitting, we need to do better."
North Port did get a few chances late. With two outs, Ethan Krizen hit a double over the center fielder's head with a runner on first.
On the throw, Mayer decided to hold up Jayson Zmejkoski, who was rounding third. The Bobcats flew out on the next pitch, ending the inning.
With two outs in the seventh, North Port got one last breath of life with a double from Nick Gursinski, who then advanced to third on a wild pitch. But Conway struck out the final batter in relief.
"The ball was in the infield already," Mayer said of the decision to hold the runner at third. "We had our four hitter coming up and you give him the opportunity to knock in two runs instead of the chance on just one. We have confidence in those guys in the lineup. They're in that position for a reason."