Dunedin, FL - The Tortugas (11-7) thumped the Dunedin Blue Jays (9-10) with a 10-0 win on Monday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
The Tortugas were able to score first and did so quickly as CF Phillip Ervin led off the first inning with a double, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a throwing error. Blue Jays shortstop Dawel Lugo tried throwing out Chad Wallach at first but missed high of the target and allowed Ervin to score.
In the second inning, C Joe Hudson added to the lead with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw from Jayson Aquino (L, 1-2). Aquino struck out the other three batters he faced in the second inning.
Ervin walked to begin the third inning. Then, SS Alex Blandino hit his third home run of the season, a two-run blast over the fence in left center, to put the Tortugas on top, 4-0. Blandino has collected those three home runs in his last four games. Ervin now leads the Florida State League with 17 runs scored.
Ervin would contribute to the lead once again in the top of the 4th inning, when he drove in 1B Sammy Diaz from third base. Diaz led off the inning with a double and reached third base on a failed pickoff attempt that Aquino threw into center field. Diaz has collected seven hits and seven RBIs in his last four games.
RF Sebastian Elizalde hit a sky-scraping solo home run to lead off the fifth inning. The third homer of the night for the Tortugas was Elizalde's third of the season. Wallach followed one batter later with a wall-ball double. He reached third on a wild pitch and tagged up from third on a sacrifice fly from Diaz.
RHP Sal Romano (W, 2-1) was excellent through six innings of shutout pitching. He surrendered just four hits and struck out four batters while walking just one. In those six innings, he faced just three batters over the minimum. He earned his second win of the year and both wins have come against the Blue Jays.
RHP Barrett Astin, LHP Blaine Howell and LHP Nolan Becker combined to allow just one hit in the final three innings to complete the shutout.
Aquino was not nearly as dominant in his second matchup with the Tortugas. He lasted just four innings and gave up five runs on five hits, although one run was unearned. Aquino struck out six but runs were scored against him in each of the four innings he pitched.
In the end, the Tortugas recorded 11 hits, five doubles and three home runs. Four of Daytona's 11 wins have been shutouts.
The rubber match will be played on Tuesday night at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, with LHP Amir Garrett facing off against Luis Santos at 6:30 p.m.