KISSIMMEE, Fla. - After dropping their first two contests, the Tortugas fought back in a big way on Saturday night. Daytona scratched across three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to knock off the Florida Fire Frogs, 5-4, at Osceola County Stadium.
Scoreless going into the fourth inning, Daytona (1-2) loaded the bases with three consecutive walks to ignite the rally. Following a pair of strikeouts, DH Leandro Santana (1-4, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SO) plopped a base-hit into shallow centerfield. All three runners scored, as the 22-year-old stopped at second with a double, giving the Tortugas their first lead of the season, 3-0.
CF Lorenzo Cedrola (2-5, R, 2B, 3B, SO) jumped started the offense in the fifth, slicing a triple to left to start the frame. 2B Alejo Lopez (3-5, R, RBI) made sure that leadoff three-bagger counted, as he poked a single through the middle to put Daytona ahead, 4-0. After the switch-hitter stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, 1B Bruce Yari (1-4, R, RBI, BB, 2 SO) roped an RBI single to right to extend the advantage to five.
LHP Packy Naughton (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 8 SO) began the contest with a flourish, as he did not allow a hit through his first 3.1 innings of work. However, Florida (2-1) finally broke through against him in the sixth.
A triple from 3B Riley Delgado (2-5, R, 3B, 2 SO) started the attack and 2B Brett Langhorne (1-4, R, 2 RBI) followed with a run-scoring knock to left. With men at first and second after a C William Contreras (2-4, R, SO) single, LF Jefrey Ramos (1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 3 SO) ripped a double down the left-field line. Both runners came across to score, pulling the Fire Frogs to within two, 5-3.
Florida cut the deficit to one against RHP Aneurys Zabala (2.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 3 SO) in the seventh. RF Shean Michel (1-4, R, 2B, SO) clocked a one-out double and scooted to third on a single to right by Delgado. Langhorne nearly grounded into an inning-ending double play but was able to beat the relay to first. The fielder's choice scored Michel, making it a 5-4 contest.
The Fire Frogs would put the leadoff man on base against RHP Wendolyn Bautista (1.0 IP, H, SO) in the bottom of the ninth, but that was as close as they would get. The right-hander induced a fielder's choice ground ball, a fly out, and struck Delgado out swinging to finish off the game and secure the Tortugas' first win of 2019.
Naughton (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 8 SO) earned his first victory of the season, tossing a quality start in his regular-season debut with Daytona. RHP Freddy Tarnok (4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO) failed to make it out of the fifth inning, suffering his first defeat for Florida. Bautista collected his first save of the season - and the third of his career - as well.
The Tortugas will look to earn a series split in the finale on Sunday afternoon. RHP Andrew Jordan (0-0, 0.00 ERA) - who made 10 starts for Daytona last season - is expected to get the ball for the first time in 2019. The Fire Frogs are projected to counter with LHP Hayden Deal (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
The Tortugas Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 11:45 a.m. ET, leading up to the 12:00 p.m. ET start at Osceola County Stadium. Sunday afternoon's contest can be heard on daytonatortugas.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the six-game road trip, the Tortugas will return home to open up a three-game homestand against the Tampa Tarpons, High-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, on Friday, April 12. That night, Daytona will kick start its Jackie Robinson Weekend by wearing special No. 9 uniforms - the number Jackie wore during his history-making debut on City Island in 1946 - as part of the team's Best Dressed Friday series. It will also be the Tortugas' Friday Night Done Right, as the organization partners with One Voice for Volusia to recognize local children and heroes who continue to break barriers. Fans are encouraged to stick around until the final out, as they will be treated a spectacular Postgame Fireworks show after the game.
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.