PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — CF Ashton Creal pounded a pair of solo home runs in the contest's first half, as Daytona held early advantages of 6-0 and 7-2. However, St. Lucie rallied to tie it in the eighth and walked it off on a throwing error in the 10th, as the Mets maneuvered an 8-7 victory over the Tortugas in 10 innings on Friday night at Clover Park.
With no one on and one out in the top of the very first inning, Creal (2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3 SO) sent a sizzling liner over the left-field wall for a solo home run. The New Lenox, Ill. native's first home run as a Tortuga — and third overall on the season — put Daytona ahead 1-0.
The offense did not stop there, as C Hayden Jones (2-3, R, 2 2B, 2 BB) scalded a double to right and quickly scored on a single to center by LF Wendell Marrero (1-5, R, RBI, 2 SO). Following a walk, 1B Michel Triana (1-5, R, HR, RBI) clubbed a laser off the first baseman's mitt and onto the outfield grass. Another tally came home on what was ruled a fielding error to push Daytona's advantage to 3-0. A balk later in the frame capped Daytona's nine-batter, four-run top of the first.
Ahead 4-0, Daytona (10-22, 39-58) continued to tack on in the third. With the bases empty and one out, Triana hammered a missile that clanged off the right-field pole for a solo home run. The 111 mph liner — his seventh home run of the campaign — padded the Tortugas cushion to 5-0.
It became a 6-0 affair later in the third inning when RF Fidel Castro (0-2, R, 2 BB, 2 SO) walked, stole second base, and scored on a ground-rule double to left-center by 2B Braylin Minier (1-4, 2B, RBI, 2 SO).
St. Lucie (18-16, 58-41) started chipping away in the bottom of the inning. Following a leadoff walk, 3B William Lugo (1-6, R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 SO) lifted a two-run home run beyond the left-field wall. The infielder's 10th blast of the season pulled the Mets within four, 6-2.
Daytona promptly snatched one of those runs back with another clout in the fourth. Leading off the frame, Creal launched a 403-foot home run to left. The 23-year-old's second home run of the game — and fourth overall in 2022 — extended the 'Tugas lead to five, 7-2.
The Mets managed to whittle the Tortugas' lead down to three in the middle innings. In the fourth, 2B Justin Guerrera (0-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SO) earned a free pass, snatched second, and scored on a single to right by C Fernando Villalobos (1-5, RBI, SO). An inning later, St. Lucie pulled within three on a run-producing ground out by 1B Jack-Thomas Wold (0-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SO).
Once again, in the eighth inning, things turned sour for Daytona. A hit-by-pitch of RF Carlos Domínguez (2-4, R, 2 SO) started the frame and a fielder's choice missed catch error turned a potential double play into first and second with nobody out. Following a wild pitch that moved runners to second and third, Guerrera brought in a tally with a ground out to short.
The lead did not last much longer, as Beracierta subsequently lofted a game-tying, two-run home run just over the right-field wall and onto the grassy berm. The Venezuela native's 10th blast of the campaign knotted the contest at seven.
The Tortugas had an opportunity to take the lead in the top of the 10th, but could not capitalize. After a passed ball enabled the automatic runner at second to advance to third with nobody out, Daytona failed to bring the run home with a pop up to the catcher, a sharp ground out to first, and a swinging strikeout.
In the bottom of the frame, the Mets were able to win it thanks to a defensive mistake. A whiff began the inning, but an infield single from CF Omar De Los Santos (2-3, R, 2B, 3 BB) pushed the winning run to third.
Despite another strikeout that pulled Daytona within an out of forcing an 11th inning, an ill-advised pickoff throw by the catcher behind the lead runner squirted into left field. Beracierta — the automatic runner at second to start the extra frame — scored on the error, giving St. Lucie an 8-7 win.
Neither starter received a decision on Friday. RHP Hunter Parks (3.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO) punched out six for the Tortugas, working into the fourth inning. RHP Jordan Geber (3.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) lasted three innings for the Mets in his affiliated debut.
RHP Trey McLoughlin (3.0 IP, H, 5 SO) posted three spotless innings out of the bullpen, earning his fourth win of the year for St. Lucie. Daytona's RHP Alberto Gonzalez III (0.2 IP, H, R, 2 SO) was saddled with his first defeat.
The Tortugas try to force a rubber match in game five of the series on Saturday. RHP José Franco (1-6, 4.63) is scheduled to make the start for Daytona. St. Lucie is projected to counter with RHP Jeffrey Colón (2-0, 3.40). 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.