The Dunedin Blue Jays offense continued their torrid month of August, knocking 18 hits and scoring nine times in a 9-3 win over the Daytona Tortugas on Saturday night at Dunedin Stadium. The win guarantees Dunedin a winning season, improving their record to 69-67 with just one game remaining in the 2018 campaign. In the win, Ivan Castillo knocked three hits, vaulting himself from fourth to first in the Florida State League's Batting Title chase, three points above his teammate and roommate Rodrigo Orozco (.301) entering the season's final day.
Daytona scored first during Saturday evening's Fan Appreciation celebration at Dunedin Stadium, using a pair of singles and an RBI groundout to go up 1-0 in the second inning, but it was all Dunedin from there. The Blue Jays tied the score in the home half of the inning on singles by Castillo and DH Nash Knight.
The Blue Jays took the lead in the third inning. 2B Logan Warmoth led off the inning with a single, his second of four hits on the night, and stole second. After a groundout, C Riley Adams brought him home with a single to left, putting Dunedin up 2-1.
Dunedin added three more in the fourth. 1B Kacy Clemens opened the inning with a single. After a walk to 3B Yeltsin Gudino, CF Joshua Palacios drilled a triple. Warmoth followed with a double to make it 5-1 in Dunedin's favor.
On the mound for the Blue Jays, RHP Yennsy Diaz cruised through the first four innings, allowing just four hits while striking out five consecutive batters between the third and fourth innings. He ran into trouble in the fifth, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks, spoiling an otherwise strong final outing of the season (4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 7 K).
With the bases loaded and Dunedin's lead cut to 5-3, RHP Jonny Cheshire entered with two outs in the fifth in relief of Diaz. He used a groundout to escape the jam and proceeded to throw 2.0 additional hitless innings, striking out three batters.
With Cheshire putting zeroes on the scoreboard out of the bullpen, the Blue Jays offense scored a run in the sixth and seventh inning and two in eighth to run away with a 9-3 win.
Every Jays batter had at least one hit in the ballgame. Warmoth led the team with four hits, two RBI, and a run in his first four-hit game of the season. Castillo had three hits, finishing the night 3-5 with a double, triple, RBI, and two runs. He now leads the Florida State League in batting average (.304) and triples (8). Palacios (2-6, 3B, 2 RBI, R), SS Kevin Smith, (2-5, R), and Clemens (2-5, R) each had two hits. Orozco finished 1-4 with a walk, dropping his average to .301, second in the league behind Castillo.
The four-hit night continues an impressive stretch for Warmoth to end the season. He's hit .359 over his last 10 games. Palacios stayed hot, raising his August batting average to .363. He has at least one hit in 26 of his last 29 games.
The win improves Dunedin's overall record to 69-67, guaranteeing them a winning season with just one game remaining. The Blue Jays and Tortugas will finish the regular season tomorrow afternoon at noon. RHP Maverik Buffo (3-4, 6.36 ERA) will square off against RHP Tommy Bergjans (5-2, 3.66 ERA) in the season finale.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.