LAKELAND, Fla. — Daytona's road woes would not be vanquished on Thursday. DH José De La Cruz clubbed a go-ahead three-run home run in the sixth inning of the opener, while the Tortugas' tying run was thrown out at the dish for the final out of the game in the nightcap. The Flying Tigers took the lid-lifter, 4-3, and the finale, 6-5, from Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.
After Lakeland (31-29) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a 2B Manuel Sequera (1-2, R, 2B, RBI, BB) double down the left-field line, Daytona (24-35) posted a crooked number in the second.
RF-LF Jack Rogers (0-2, R, BB, SO) walked to start the inning and advanced to second when 1B Michel Triana (1-2, R, SO) was plunked on an 0-2 pitch. Following a strike out, SS Steven Leyton (2-3, R, 3B, 2 RBI) punched a shot past the diving right fielder and into the corner. Two runs scored, as the León, Nicaragua native slid into third with a triple, granting the Tortugas a 2-1 lead.
Leyton would score to make it 3-1 on a subsequent sacrifice fly to left by 3B Austin Callahan (0-2, RBI).
The Tortugas would nurse the two-run advantage until the sixth. After consecutive two-out walks, De La Cruz (1-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, SO) — who was reinstated from the injured list earlier in the day — stepped in looking for his first hit. On a 1-2 delivery, the 20-year-old powered a drive onto the berm in left for a go-ahead, three-run homer. De La Cruz's seventh of the year put the Flying Tigers in front, 4-3.
Daytona put the tying run aboard on a Leyton single in the seventh, but that was as close as they could get. RHP Erick Rodríguez (1.0 IP, H) worked around the knock to toss a scoreless inning, securing Lakeland's 4-3 win and his third save of the year.
It was a tough luck no-decision for the Tortugas' RHP Chase Petty (5.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) who left in line for his first professional victory. The 19-year-old hoisted a career-high 5.0 innings, yielding one run on two hits.
RHP Nick Davila (4.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 4 SO) was granted a no-decision for the Flying Tigers after working four innings in the opener.
RHP Jack Anderson (2.0 IP, 3 SO) hurled two perfect innings of relief for Lakeland, earning his second win. RHP Dennis Boatman (1.0 IP, H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, SO) only permitted one hit for Daytona, but was saddled with a blown save and his fourth defeat.
In the nightcap, it was the Tortugas who struck first.
CF Jay Allen II (0-2, R, 2 BB, SO) led off the contest with a walk and went first-to-third on a single to right from SS Steven Leyton (1-4, SO). 2B Tyler Callihan (2-4, 2 R, RBI, SO) put Daytona on the board, 1-0, with a run-scoring ground out to short.
Much like in the lid-lifter, the opening lead did not last. C Daneurys De La Cruz (1-2, R) singled to start the bottom of the second for the Tigers and advanced to second on a fielding error off the bat of LF Esney Chacon (1-3, R).
After a sacrifice bunt and a line out to center, RF Austin Schultz (1-1, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB) roped a 1-2 pitch to the back of the berm in left for a three-run home run. His first of the season put Lakeland ahead, 3-1.
In the fifth, the Flying Tigers mustered some insurance. Schultz coaxed a one-out walk and went to third on a single to right from 3B Izaac Pacheco (2-3, R, 2B). An errant throw in from right allowed Schultz to score and Pacheco to advance to second, extending Lakeland's lead to 4-1. A ground out and another throwing error at first permitted Pacheco to dent the plate, pushing the advantage to four.
Both teams traded runs in the sixth. Callihan singled, moved to second on a walk to DH Michel Triana (1-3, R, BB, SO) and scored on 1B Yassel Pino's (2-4, 2B, RBI) single to left-center, the first hit and RBI of his Tortugas' career. 1B Eduardo Valencia (1-2, RBI) pushed the Flying Tigers' cushion back to four on a knock up the middle.
Down 6-2 with the bases empty and two out in the seventh, Daytona's offense started to percolate. Callihan started the rally with a single to left and LF Jack Rogers (2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI) followed with a towering drive down the left-field line. The Spring, Texas native muscled the ball onto the berm for a two-run home run — his second of the season — drawing the 'Tugas within a pair, 6-4.
Triana extended the attack with a single to left and Pino put the tying runs in scoring position with a ground-rule double in left.
C Wilfred Astudillo (2-4, 2B, RBI, SO) then scalded the second pitch he saw into left field for a hit. Triana scored easily from third, while Pino was given the windmill around third to attempt to score the tying run. Chacon's throw in from left field beat the runner to the plate, and Pino was tagged out to end the game, giving the Flying Tigers a doubleheader sweep, 6-5.
LHP Matt Walker (3.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, BB, 2 SO) took a no-decision in his first start of the season for Lakeland. RHP Cam Brown (2.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 2 SO) twirled two innings of scoreless relief, earning his first win of the year.
Although he did not surrender an earned run, Tortugas' RHP Arij Fransen (4.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R) suffered his sixth loss of 2022.
The Tortugas will try and return to the win column on Friday. RHP Julian Aguiar (4-5, 3.89) is expected to take the hill for Daytona. Last year's No. 3 overall pick — RHP Jackson Jobe (1-1, 3.91) — is anticipated to make the start for Lakeland. Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network will begin on the MiLB First Pitch app and www.daytonatortugas.com at 6:15 p.m. leading up to the 6:30 p.m. first pitch from Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.
After the six-game road swing, the Tortugas will return to Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday, June 21, to open up a series against the Jupiter Hammerheads, the Florida State League affiliate of the Miami Marlins. It will be a Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Radiology Associates Imaging. The Tortugas will don special 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. It is also a Silver Sluggers Night by Conviva, featuring special team store and concession stand deals for members, plus more. The series opener features Taco Tuesday with options at the concession stands starting at just $3.
Season tickets, 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.