BRADENTON, Fla. - 1B Mason Martin launched a pair of solo home runs and drove in three total tallies, as the Bradenton Marauders mashed their way past the Daytona Tortugas, 5-1, on Friday night at LECOM Park.
With the loss, Daytona (27-36, 62-66) drops to a game-and-a-half behind the Clearwater Threshers - who, as of press time, were still playing against the Charlotte Stone Crabs - in the race for the North Division wild card. However, with the Dunedin Blue Jays' loss and the Lakeland Flying Tigers' doubleheader sweep, the two are now tied for the lead in the North in the second-half race. The Tortugas would need Dunedin to win the second half for the wild card to come into play, as the Blue Jays captured the first-half crown.
The evening got off to a positive start for the 'Tugas, as 2B Alejo López (3-5, R, SO) began the game with a base-hit. After stealing second, 1B Bruce Yari (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB, SO) ripped a two-out double into right-center. López scored easily from second to put Daytona ahead, 1-0.
Bradenton (33-29, 69-59) wasted no time in knotting the game up. With nobody on and two out, Martin (3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI) launched a towering shot onto the boardwalk beyond the fence in right for a solo home run. The 20-year-old's 10th FSL blast drew the Marauders even, 1-1.
Martin was at it again in the third. Once more with the bases empty and two retired, the left-handed swinger cracked a liner that snuck over the right-field wall for another solo shot. The former 17th-round pick's second long ball of the game - and 11th in the circuit - gave the Marauders a one-run edge, 2-1.
It remained a tight affair until Bradenton broke it open in the bottom of the eighth. The Marauders put the first two men on via a hit-by-pitch and a walk before Martin rifled an RBI single to right, pushing the home team's lead to two, 3-1. Following a walk that filled the bags, C Deon Stafford (2-4, 2 RBI, SO) smoked a knock to center. Two runs scored on the single to put Bradenton ahead by four, 5-1.
Daytona would load the bases with two down in the ninth, but RHP Shea Murray (1.0 IP, H, 2 SO) recorded a strikeout looking to seal the win for the white-clad Marauders.
RHP Mac Sceroler (7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO) suffered his fourth defeat but was stellar over seven innings. RHP Nick Economos (6.0 IP, 5 H, R, ER, BB, SO) did not issue a run over his final five innings of work, garnering his sixth FSL victory.
Looking to even the series on Saturday, RHP Austin Orewiler (8-9, 4.07 ERA) is expected to take the hill for the Tortugas. The Marauders are scheduled to counter with RHP Gavin Wallace (4-8, 4.22 ERA).
The Tortugas Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:15 p.m. ET, leading up to the 6:30 p.m. ET start at LECOM Park. Saturday evening's contest can be heard on www.daytonatortugas.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the final road trip of the season, Daytona will return to The Jack to open up a seven-game homestand and four-game set against the St. Lucie Mets, the High-A affiliate of the New York Mets. It will be a Belly Buster Monday at the ballpark, presented by Marco's Pizza. Starting at just $13, fans can enjoy all-you-can-eat hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and popcorn throughout the evening.
Tickets 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, the Beijing Shougang Eagles of National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) 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.