DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In a back-and-forth affair, it was Daytona who emerged a few inches short. The Tortugas had the game's attempted tying run thrown out at the plate for the second out in the bottom of the 10th inning, as the Clearwater Threshers claimed a 7-6 victory in extra frames in front of 1,663 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday night.
Clearwater (15-28, 50-58) jumped out in front first with a big blow. 1B Chad Castillo (1-3, R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, SO) hammered the third pitch of the top of the second off the videoboard in left-center field for a solo home run. The California Baptist alum's second career clout put the Threshers ahead 1-0.
It was Daytona's (13-28, 42-64) turn to scoot ahead in the third. 1B Yassel Pino (2-3, 2 R, BB) roped a single to center to start the inning and LF Wendell Marrero (2-3, R, 2B) followed with a bunt base-hit to the left side of the infield. 3B Austin Callahan (1-4, R, 2B, RBI) subsequently pounded a delivery off the base of the center-field fence for a double. Pino scored, while Marrero stopped at third, knotting the game at one.
After a strikeout, 2B Trey Faltine (1-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, SO) lifted a fly ball to left field. Marrero scored on the sacrifice fly — giving Faltine the first run batted in of his professional career — to put Daytona in front for the first time, 2-1.
The lead did not last, as Clearwater utilized the gopher ball again. C Caleb Ricketts (1-4, 2 R, HR, RBI, 2 BB, SO) started the top of the fourth by ripping a line drive that cleared the fence in left for a solo home run. The left-handed swinger's second career blast tied the game at two.
In the fifth, the Tortugas regained the advantage. Pino looped an infield single to start the frame and Marrero promptly blasted a ground-rule double to right-center field. Callahan carried a sacrifice fly out to center field to chase in the go-ahead run, giving Daytona a 3-2 advantage.
The Threshers returned with their rebuttal in the sixth. Clearwater started the rally, loading the bases with two outs on a walk to Ricketts, a single to left by CF Cade Fergus (1-5, R, 3 SO), and another free pass to LF Troy Schreffler (1-3, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB). SS Erick Brito (2-5, 2B, 3 RBI, SO) cleared the bags with a double into the left-center field gap, putting the visitors back ahead, 5-3.
Daytona was able to draw even and force extra frames. Faltine was plunked to start the Tortugas' sixth and, after taking second on a ground out, moved to third on a wild pitch. RF-LF Jack Rogers (2-5, 2B, 2 RBI, SO) slammed a run-scoring double off the right-field wall to make it a one-run affair, 5-4.
Consecutive singles — plus a fielding error in center — by Faltine and C Logan Tanner (2-5, 2B) created runners at first and third with one out in the eighth. Rogers hit a sharp worm burner to first, but Clearwater was unsuccessful in turning an inning-ending double play. Faltine scored on the fielder's choice, tying it at five.
A crooked number in the top of the 10th put the Threshers in the driver's seat for good. 3B Matt Alifano (0-2, 3 BB, 2 SO) walked to start the inning following a wild pitch that enabled the automatic runner to advance to third. Schreffler followed with a single through the right-side of the infield to put Clearwater back in front, 6-5.
After a bunt single from Brito loaded the bases, DH Hao Yu Lee (0-4, RBI, 2 BB, SO) coaxed a walk with two out in the frame. A run scored on the free pass, doubling the Threshers' cushion, 7-5.
In the bottom of the inning, Daytona did not go quietly. Following a ground out that moved the automatic runner to third, Faltine rolled a grounder to short that was mishandled. A run scored, while the seventh-round selection reached on the error, slicing the deficit to one, 7-6.
Three pitches later, Tanner muscled a rocket over the right fielder's head and off the fence. Faltine made the cut around third base to try and score the tying run, but a marvelous relay throw by the shortstop prevented it from happening. The University of Texas alum was tagged for the second out on the two-base hit.
With the tying run still at second, LHP Tristan Garnett (2.0 IP, H, R, BB, SO) induced a lazy fly ball to left for the game's final out, securing his third win of the year and the Threshers' 7-6 victory.
Neither starter received a decision on Tuesday. Daytona's RHP Sam Benschoter (3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO) punched out six in his fourth start since returning from the injured list. RHP Víctor Vargas (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 3 SO) lasted five innings in his rehab start for Clearwater.
RHP Juan Abril (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) yielded a pair of tallies in the 10th and was saddled with his first loss of the campaign.
Fans are advised to arrive with an empty stomach as the series continues with a Belly Buster Wednesday presented by Marco’s Pizza. A long-standing fan favorite, starting at just $14, patrons will receive a bracelet and may indulge in all-you-care-to-eat hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and popcorn at concession stands all evening long.
The Tortugas are expected to hand the ball to RHP Hunter Parks (2-5, 5.34), as they seek to snap their six-game slide to Clearwater. The Threshers are projected to counter with RHP Starlyn Castillo (0-4, 11.25) 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.