PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — SS Edwin Arroyo picked a grand time for his first hit in the Cincinnati Reds organization. The 18-year-old's two-run double put Daytona ahead for good in the seventh, as he and CF Jay Allen II ignited the Tortugas to a 5-3 victory over the St. Lucie Mets on Thursday night at Clover Park.
Tied at two entering the seventh, Daytona (10-21, 39-57) received a one-out walk to 1B Yassel Pino (0-2, R, 2 BB, 2 SO) and a looping single into left by RF Ashton Creal (1-3, R, 2 SO). After a strikeout, Arroyo (1-3, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB) stepped in with two out.
On a 2-2 pitch, the Arecibo, P.R. native launched a ball into the left-center field gap. No one could catch up to it, as it bounced off the wall. Two runs scored, as Arroyo chugged into second with a double, giving the Tortugas a 4-2 lead.
Following a pitching change, it was Allen's (1-4, R, 2B, RBI, 3 SO) turn. The 19-year-old pulled his hands in and rifled the second pitch he saw into the left-field corner. Arroyo scored easily on Allen's double, stretching Daytona's cushion to three, 5-2.
It would not be an easy race to the finish. St. Lucie (17-16, 57-41) loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but Arroyo made a nice stop on a 109 mph ground ball to quell the rally and keep the three-run advantage intact.
In the ninth, the Mets mustered one final push. RF Carlos Domínguez (2-4, R, RBI) was plunked to start the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but was left there after a pair of fly outs to left.
After a wild pitch and a walk put men at the corners, DH Justin Guerrera (1-4, RBI, BB, SO) dunked a single into shallow right to chase in a run and pull St. Lucie within two, 5-3.
The Mets would get no closer than that. RHP Juan Abril (1.1 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, SO ) was able to induce a check swing strikeout on a breaking ball in the dirt to record the game's final out, securing his second save of the season.
Daytona jumped out in front early for the third-straight game in the series. Arroyo started the contest with a seven-pitch walk and promptly stole second base before crossing on a ground-rule double to right by DH Hayden Jones (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB, SO).
St. Lucie tied it at one in the bottom of the first thanks to a 3B William Lugo (3-4, 2 R, 2B, BB, SO) double, a single from SS Junior Tilien (3-4, BB, SO) and a fielding error in right. The Mets grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third on three singles from Lugo, Tilien, and Domínguez.
Daytoan managed to tie it in the bottom of the sixth. Allen was plunked by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out, and scored on a wild pitch.
Neither starter factored into the decision on Thursday. RHP Sam Benschoter (4.0+ IP, 7 H, 2 R, ER, BB, 9 SO) punched out a career-high-tying nine hitters over four-plus frames in his second start off the injured list for Daytona. LHP Josh Walker (2.0 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) struck out five over two innings in a Minor League rehab start for St. Lucie.
Making his Daytona debut, RHP Shane Gustafson (3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 SO) hurled 3.2 innings of shutout relief to earn his second win of the year and his first in a Tortugas' uniform.
The Mets' RHP Raimón Gómez (0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 2 SO) permitted all three runs in the seventh and was saddled with his fourth defeat.
The Tortugas look to even the series at two wins apiece on Friday. RHP Hunter Parks (2-5, 5.14) is scheduled to make the start for Daytona. St. Lucie has not announced a probable starter yet. Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network will begin on the MiLB First Pitch app and www.daytonatortugas.com at 5:55 p.m. leading up to the 6:10 p.m. first pitch from Clover Park.
The Tortugas will return to Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday, August 9, to open up a two-week homestand with six games against the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the Florida State League affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The series opens with another Shell Yeah Cookout. The $15 add-on includes the full “Bases Loaded” menu during a 90-minute buffet with hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, baked beans, cookies, Pepsi products, and more. It is also a Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Radiology Associates Imaging. The Tortugas will don unique pink-clad uniforms that will be auctioned off at the end of the season with all proceeds to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Silver Sluggers Night presented by Conviva is a part of the festivities. The exclusive 60-and-older club features deals at the team store, concession stands for members, and more. The series opener also marks a Taco Tuesday with options at the concession stands starting at just $3.
Multi-game plans, group packages, and single-game tickets are currently available and can be purchased online at www.daytonatortugas.com or by calling the Tortugas’ Ticket Office at (386) 257-3172.
ABOUT THE DAYTONA TORTUGAS
The Daytona Tortugas are the Single-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of Minor League Baseball’s Florida State League. The Tortugas play at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona Beach, Fla. Jackie Robinson Ballpark also plays host to Bethune-Cookman University, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark Museum, and many community events and initiatives of all sizes throughout the year.