JUPITER, Fla. — Two outs and five strikes away from their second combined no-hitter in as many seasons, joy quickly turned into despair for Daytona. 3B Osvaldo Tovalin tallied Palm Beach's only hit of the night — a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth — giving
JUPITER, Fla. — Two outs and five strikes away from their second combined no-hitter in as many seasons, joy quickly turned into despair for Daytona. 3B Osvaldo Tovalin tallied Palm Beach's only hit of the night — a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth — giving the Cardinals a soul-crushing 3-1 triumph over the Tortugas on Thursday night at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
RHP Sam Benschoter (4.0 IP, 7 SO) set the tone early in his first start of the season. The 24-year-old struck out the side in order in the first and twirled four perfect innings for Daytona (2-4), matching a career-best with seven strikeouts and inducing 19 total swings and misses throughout the night.
The Michigan State alum would hand the ball to Opening Night starter RHP José Franco (4.0 IP, 2 BB, 8 SO) who carried the torch. The Aragua, Venezuela native kept the combined perfect-game bid alive until the seventh when he issued a one-out walk to SS Jeremy Rivas (0-3, BB, SO). Palm Beach (3-2) coaxed a free pass in the eighth, as well, but Franco kept the home squad scoreless and hitless into the ninth.
Things had an inauspicious start for the Tortugas in the bottom of the ninth. PH Wade Stauss (0-0) was hit by a 1-1 pitch to start the frame against RHP Luis Mey (0.1 IP, H, 3 R, 3 ER, K). His pinch-runner Sander Mora (0-0, R) was given second base on a balk and after another plunking of LF Tyler Reichenborn (0-3, R, SO) in addition to the tying and winning runs aboard, Mey settled down to register a strikeout for the first out of the inning.
However, Tovalin (1-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, 2 SO) stepped in with a game-ending double play in order and did anything but. The left-handed swinger walloped a 1-1 offering beyond the fence in right-center field for a walk-off three-run blast and the Cardinals' only hit of the night. His first home run of the season gave Palm Beach the win, 3-1, and their second walk-off victory in as many nights.
Daytona initially jumped in front by a run in the fourth. CF Jay Allen II (0-3) made it safely aboard to start the inning on a three-base throwing error but was tagged out off third on a subsequent fielder's choice. Although the rally appeared squashed, DH Yerlin Confidan (1-4, 3B, RBI, SO) uncorked a laser over the leaping glove of the shortstop and all the way to the wall. SS Gus Steiger (0-4, R, SO) motored all the way around from first base to score without a throw, as Confidan slid into third with an RBI triple.
Neither starter received a decision on Thursday. Benschoter (4.0 IP, 7 SO) posted four perfect frames for Daytona. Palm Beach's RHP Inohan Paniagua (6.0 IP, H, R, BB, 6 SO) permitted only one unearned run over six innings.
RHP Gianluca Dalatri (1.0 IP, H, 3 SO) worked around a hit and struck out three in his lone inning of relief to pick up his first win of the season for the Cardinals. Mey (0.1 IP, H, 3 R, 3 ER, K) was saddled with his first defeat of the campaign for the 'Tugas.
Daytona will look to enact revenge on Thursday with RHP Reynardo Cruz (0-0, 22.50) expected to make his first start of the season. Palm Beach is projected to counter with RHP Gustavo Rodriguez (0-1, 9.00). Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network and www.daytonatortugas.com will begin at 6:15 p.m. ET from Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium, leading up to the first pitch at 6:30.
After the six-game road swing, the Tortugas will return to Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday, April 19, to open up a series against the Bradenton Marauders, the Florida State League affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It will be the first Breast Cancer Awareness Night of the season 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 the first Silver Sluggers Night of the campaign presented by Conviva, featuring deals at the team store and concession stands for members, and more. The series opener also marks the return of Taco Tuesday to Daytona Beach 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.