For the first time in over a decade, a Dunedin Blue Jay may take home the Florida State League's Batting Title.
With a 1-for-2 night on Friday evening at Dunedin Stadium during an 8-1 win over the Daytona Tortugas, CF Rodrigo Orozco raised his average this season to .302, breaking a three-way tie for the top spot in the FSL's batting charts. With two days left in the regular season, Orozco holds a 1-point lead over Clearwater's Jose Pujols and Charlotte's Jesus Sanchez, both hitting .301 this season.
Because Pujols and Sanchez have both been promoted to Double A, Orozco's biggest competition for the batting title might come from his own teammate and roommate LF Ivan Castillo. With two hits on Friday, Castillo brought his average even at .300 for the season, giving the Jays two shots at winning their first batting title since Eric Nielsen hit .325 in 2007.
The first of Castillo's two hits in the game got a big six-run second inning started for Dunedin. After C Riley Adams walked to lead off the inning and 1B Chad Spanberger knocked a single, Castillo laced a line drive to the right field gap. Centerfielder Taylor Trammell and rightfielder Michael Beltre converged in pursuit of the ball and collided while the ball skipped between them into the gap. Castillo cruised into third standing up while two runs scored.
Orozco followed Castillo's triple with an RBI single to put Dunedin up 3-0. The Blue Jays weren't done there, as 3B Nash Knight and DH Joshua Palacios proceeded to hit back-to-back doubles that were followed two batters later by a RF Brock Lundquist double, giving Dunedin a 6-0 lead.
The Blue Jays tacked on two more runs in the third, using singles by Castillo and Knight and a trio of walks to take an 8-0 lead.
A Morgan Lofstrom triple and subsequent sacrifice fly by Alberti Chavez put Daytona's only run on the board in the fifth. It was all LHP Zach Logue would allow, going 5.0 innings and allowing just three hits and the single run while striking out five to earn his ninth win of the season with Dunedin and his 12th overall.
LHP Angel Perdomo followed Logue on the mound and tossed 2.0 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out four. RHP Nick Hartman and RHP Ty Tice each threw a scoreless inning to finish off the game and move Dunedin back above .500 at 68-67.
Daytona and Dunedin will continue their season-ending three-game series tomorrow evening at Dunedin Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 PM. Gates will open at 5:30 PM and fans will have access to the team's year-end garage sale beginning at gates open. The first 250 fans will get an 11x14 Dunedin Blue Jays Team Photo Poster at the gates and the game will be followed by fireworks sponsored by Wawa.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.