DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — C Hayden Jones clubbed a two-run home run as part of a five-run sixth inning, while 2B Johnny Ascanio tallied a career-high-tying three hits, as the Daytona Tortugas out slugged the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 7-4, in front of 1,136 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Sunday evening.
The game remained scoreless until Lakeland (13-27, 51-55) grabbed the lead in the top of the fourth. 2B Manuel Sequera (3-3, R, 2B, 2 RBI) began the frame with a double to left and, two batters later, came home on DH Justice Bigbie's (2-4, RBI, SO) single to right, giving the Flying Tigers a 1-0 edge.
The lead did not last, as Daytona (13-27, 42-63) knotted the game in the bottom of the inning. Ascanio (3-4, 3 R) smashed a single to right and RF Jack Rogers (2-4, RBI, 2 SO) followed with a knock to left before a wild pitch advanced them to second and third.
Following a walk to 1B Yassel Pino (1-3, 3B, BB, SO), SS Edwin Arroyo (1-3, R, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, SO) tapped a ground ball to third. Lakeland was only able to record the force out at second, as Ascanio scored from third on the fielder's choice to tie it at one.
In the sixth, Daytona erupted and snatched the lead for good. Ascanio started the frame and rolled a grounder to third, but the toss to first sailed up the right-field line. The 19-year-old motored to third on the single and error, but consecutive strikeouts put Lakeland on the verge of escaping trouble.
With two out, Arroyo lifted a fly ball into the right-center field gap, but inside of an inning-ending fly out, the center and right fielder collided. The ball landed safely on the turf, as the Arecibo, P.R. chugged into third with an RBI triple, giving Daytona a 2-1 lead.
After the right fielder departed with an injury, Jones (1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, SO) demolished the next offering beyond the right-field wall for a two-run home run. The Huntertown, Ind. native's team-leading ninth blast of the season tripled the Tortugas' lead to three, 4-1.
The rally did not halt there. CF Justin Boyd (1-3, R, 2 SO) pounded a single to center and swiped second base before DH Wilfred Astudillo (1-3, R, RBI) laced a liner into right. Boyd scored easily from second, as the ball squirted behind the new right fielder. Astudillo ended up at third on the error before scoring a wild pitch, providing Daytona a five-run, 6-1 lead.
An inning later, the Tortugas tacked on. Ascanio hit a weak chopper in front of the plate and yet another throw sailed towards the Flying Tigers' right field bullpen, allowing him to take second. Rogers subsequently scalded a ball back through the middle and into center. Ascanio scored on the knock, stretching Daytona's cushion to 7-1.
Lakeland made sure they would not go quietly. LF Iverson Leonardo (1-3, R, BB, SO) singled up the middle to start the top of the eighth and 2B Cristian Santana (0-4, R, 2 SO) was drilled with a two-strike count. 3B Peyton Graham (1-4, R, 2B, RBI, SO) added a double to left to chase in a tally and trim their deficit to five, 7-2.
On the next toss, Sequera hit a scalding grounder that deflected off the third baseman's mitt and rolled into shallow left. Two runs scored on the 18-year-old's one-base hit, slicing Daytona's advantage to three, 7-4.
A single to left from CF Roberto Campos (1-4, SO) brought the tying run to the plate with nobody out. RHP Brett Lockwood (2.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 SO) settled down and did not allow the Flying Tigers to progress further. The Temecula, Calif. native induced a double play ground ball to short and a soft tapper to second to keep the lead intact.
In the ninth, RHP Shane Gustafson (1.0 IP, BB) slammed the door shut. The University of Nevada, Reno alum worked around a two-out walk to induce three light ground balls, securing a series split for the Tortugas and the first save of his professional career.
Daytona's RHP Julian Aguiar (4.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, 4 SO) continued his outstanding stretch on the bump, hurling four innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. RHP Yomil Maysonet (2.0 IP, H, SO) entered in support and posted two spotless frames out of the bullpen to earn his first victory with the club and his fourth of 2022.
LHP Carlos Peña (5.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, BB, 7 SO) punched out seven hitters and worked into the sixth, but took his fourth defeat of the year for Lakeland.
Following the league-wide off day on Monday, the Tortugas will return to Jackie Robinson Ballpark to continue their two-week homestand on Tuesday, August 16, against the Clearwater Thresheres, the Florida State League affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The series opens with another Shell Yeah Cookout. The $15 add-on includes the full “Bases Loaded” menu during a 90-minute buffet with hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, baked beans, cookies, Pepsi products, and more. It is also a Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Radiology Associates Imaging. The Tortugas will don unique pink-clad uniforms that will be auctioned off at the end of the season with all proceeds to raise money and awareness in the fight against breast cancer. Silver Sluggers Night presented by Conviva is a part of the festivities. The exclusive 60-and-older club features deals at the team store, concession stands for members, and more. The series opener also marks a Taco Tuesday with options at the concession stands starting at just $3.
Neither team has announced a probable starter for the series opener. Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network will begin on the MiLB First Pitch app and www.daytonatortugas.com at 6:50 p.m. leading up to the 7:05 p.m. first pitch from Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
Multi-game plans, group packages, and single-game tickets are 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 Single-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of Minor League Baseball’s 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 Jackie Robinson Ballpark Museum, and many community events and initiatives of all sizes throughout the year.