DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 9, 2017) - Both pitching staffs came out firing on Tuesday night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, as the Florida Fire Frogs and Daytona Tortugas combined for 29 strikeouts in game two of the three-game series. The Florida Fire Frogs had 15 of those tallies, but came up short in a 2-1 contest. The defeat forces the fourth rubber match in the last five series for the Fire Frogs.
Daytona (19-14) tallied the first two runs of the game in the first with a two-out, two-run double from Narcisco Crook. Alfredo Rodriguez and Shed Long singled to start the frame, but Luiz Gohara (3-1) rebounded to strike out nick Senzel and Gavin LaValley in front of Crook.
The left-hander uncorked a wild pitch, allowing the runners to reach second and third, and Crook drove a 1-1 pitch to the gap in right-center for the early lead.
The hard-throwing starter lasted just 4.1 innings, but came within one of tying a career-high with nine strikeouts in the middle game. The 6'3" hurler allowed the two runs on five hits and three walks in his first loss of the season.
Gohara exited the game with runners and first and second and one out in the fifth, and gave way to Jacob Webb. The right-handed reliever threw a wild pickoff attempt past Carlos Castro at first, moving both runner up 90 feet. Webb intentionally walked LaValley to load the bases for Crook, who sent a pop up to right that was caught by Ray-Patrick Didder. Shed Long broke for home, but Didder fired a strike to the plate, allowing Jonathan Morales to apply the tag for the inning-ending double play.
Webb did not allow a run over his 2.2 innings of work and struck five on the night. Devan Watts punched out a batter in the eighth for the Fire Frogs' 15th strikeout of the night, setting a new team-record in a nine-inning game for 2017.
Vladimir Gutierrez (3-2) one-upped Gohara with a season-high, 10 strikeouts on Tuesday night. The 21-year-old took a perfect game into the fourth before giving up a one-out single to Didder (1x4, SB).
The native of La Habana, Cuba had a shutout going into the sixth, but gave up a leadoff single to Florida's (16-17) new leadoff hitter, Anfernee Seymour (1x4, R, SB). The speedster swiped second with Didder at the plate, and reached third on a passed ball in the same at-bat. Didder struck out to end the night for Gutierrez.
Austin Riley (0x4, RBI) bounced out to short against Robert Stock, but drove in Seymour to put the Fire Frogs on the board, and close the line on Gutierrez.
Alex Jackson (1x3, 2B, BB) laced a double down the line in left and Braxton Davidson (0x2, 2 BB) drew a free pass to give Florida another scoring chance in the frame, but Castro (0x4) flew out to shallow right to end the threat.
Stock struck out just one batter in his relief appearance, but Tanner Rainey (SV, 4) set down the side in the eighth on strikes.
Castro took Rainey deep to center with a man on in the ninth, but flew out to the warning track for the second out. Morales (0x4) bounced out to grounded into a force out to end the game.
Florida looks to take its second consecutive rubber match on Wednesday morning at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. LHP Drew Harrington (3-2, 2.16) takes the mound for the Fire Frog against the Tortugas' RHP Jesus Reyes (3-0, 2.61) First pitch is set for 10:30 a.m., with coverage starting at 10:15 a.m. on the Florida Fire Frogs Broadcasting Network.
The Florida Fire Frogs return to Osceola County Stadium on Monday, May 15 to take on the Tampa Yankees. The first game of the four-game series is Margarita Monday in Kissimmee, where fans can enjoy $3 margaritas and $2 empanadas. The series opener will also be Service Industry Night, where members of the service industry can purchase tickets at the gate for a discounted rate.
About the Florida Fire Frogs
The Florida Fire Frogs are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves and compete in the Florida State League. The Fire Frogs play their home games at Osceola County Stadium, located at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. For more information, please visit www.FloridaFireFrogs.com, and follow the team on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.