KISSIMMEE, Fla. - 2B Alejo Lopez continued his torrid start to the 2019 season on Thursday afternoon. The 22-year-old only collected one hit, but drove in a career-high-tying four runs, as the Daytona Tortugas squashed the Florida Fire Frogs, 7-2, at Osceola County Stadium.
Despite a quick turnaround from last night's game in Jupiter, Daytona wasted no time in grabbing the early lead. LF Randy Ventura (1-4, 2 R, BB, 2 SO) started the contest on an infield single and moved to third on a base-hit to right from 3B Jonathan India (2-4, 2 R, BB, SO). The throw into third base caromed of Ventura's cleat and sailed into the Fire Frogs' dugout. The miscue allowed him to score - and India to move to third - to put Daytona up, 1-0. Lopez (1-5, 2B, 4 RBI, 2 SO) followed with a run-scoring ground out to make it a 2-0 affair.
After Florida chipped their deficit to one in the third on an RBI single by DH Greyson Jenista (1-4, RBI), the Tortugas bounced back with a four-run fifth inning.
CF Lorenzo Cedrola (2-3, R, BB) ignited the attack with a single and proceeded to swipe second base. After moving to third on a single from C Mark Kolozsvary (1-3, R, BB), SS Carlos Rivero (0-4, R, RBI, 2 SO) hit a grounder that was deflected by the pitcher's glove. The second baseman recovered and threw home, but Cedrola snuck his hand in ahead of the tag to stretch the lead back to two, 3-1.
Following a walk to Ventura that loaded the bases, Lopez made his big blow. The switch-hitter - batting from the right-hand side - whacked a line drive into the left-centerfield gap. All three runners scored easily, as Lopez chugged into second with a double to give Daytona a 6-1 edge.
In the seventh, the Fire Frogs mustered a run to cut the Tortuga lead to four courtesy of a run-scoring single to left from C William Contreras (1-4, RBI, 2 SO). Daytona would add an insurance run in the top of the ninth, as India singled with one out and worked his way around to score on a trio of wild pitches.
RHP Michael Byrne (4.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 7 SO) did not factor into the decision but was impressive in his third start for Daytona. The 22-year-old tied a career-best with seven strikeouts over four innings. In relief, RHP Mac Sceroler (2.0 IP, 3 H, SO) yielded three hits over two spotless frames to collect his first win of the season.
Despite retiring nine-in-a-row from the second through fourth innings, RHP Keith Weisenberg (4.0+ IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) failed to make it out of the fifth. The right-hander yielded six runs (five earned), taking his second defeat of the campaign.
Daytona will go for their first series win of the season on Friday night, as LHP Reiver Sanmartin (0-1, 3.63 ERA) is expected to make his fourth start. The Fire Frogs have not yet announced their starter for tomorrow's contest.
The Tortugas Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 5:45 p.m. ET, leading up to the 6:00 p.m. ET start at Osceola County Stadium. Friday evening's game can be heard on daytonatortugas.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the week on the road, the Tortugas will return to The Jack to take on the Dunedin Blue Jays, High-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, on Monday, April 22. It will be the team's first Belly Buster Monday of the year presented by Marco's Pizza. For just a $13 ticket, fans will be treated to an all-you-can-eat buffet of their favorite ballpark foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and popcorn.
Season ticket and multi-game plans are still 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 High-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of the 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 and many large community events and initiatives throughout the season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.