DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - For the third time in four games, a socially distant capacity crowd of 1,100 entered the gates at Jackie Robinson Ballpark for a nail biter. 2B Gus Steiger’s three-hit, two-steal performance was not enough for the Tortugas, though, as the St. Lucie Mets ousted Daytona, 5-4,
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - For the third time in four games, a socially distant capacity crowd of 1,100 entered the gates at Jackie Robinson Ballpark for a nail biter. 2B Gus Steiger’s three-hit, two-steal performance was not enough for the Tortugas, though, as the St. Lucie Mets ousted Daytona, 5-4, in 10 innings on Friday night.
In the first, the Tortugas (5-5) snatched the early lead. Steiger (3-5, R, RBI, SO) nearly did it all himself, as the 22-year-old singled to right, moved to second on a walk, stole third, and then scored on a wild pitch to put Daytona ahead, 1-0.
St. Lucie (7-3) immediately answered with a tally of their own in the top of the second, starting a trend that would continue throughout the night. 1B Warren Saunders (0-3, 3 R, BB) walked and 3B José Peroza (0-3, R, BB, 2 SO) got plunked before DH José Colina (1-3, 2B, RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO) uncorked a double into right. Saunders scored easily from second, but RF Austin Hendrick made a marvelous relay to Steiger who delivered a Beebee to the plate, retiring the potential go-ahead run.
In the fourth, it was Hendrick’s (1-4, R, 2B, 2 SO) turn to create the offense. The 2020 first-round draftee launched a double to left with one out and broke for third with LF Danny Lantigua (2-4, R, 2B, SO) at the dish. Hendrick slid head-first safely into third, but the throw down caromed off the glove of the third baseman and rolled into shallow left. The 19-year-old popped up and scored without a play to put the ‘Tugas back in front, 2-1.
Following a bases-loaded walk to RF Zach Ashford (0-4, RBI, BB, 3 SO) that tied it at two in the fifth, Daytona regained the lead in the seventh. Lantigua slapped a double to left to ignite the rally and scooted to third on a grounder to short. With a man at third and two out, C Daniel Vellojín (2-4, 2B, RBI) made it 3-2 Tortugas, slicing a knuckleball that stayed fair down the line in left for an RBI double.
Yet again, the lead was short-lived. In the top of the eighth, SS Shervyen Newton (2-5, R, 3 RBI, BB, 2 SO) drew a bases-full free pass of his own to knot it at three and then put St. Lucie ahead for good in the 10th.
Starting with the automatic runner at second, the Mets loaded the bags with consecutive walks. Despite an infield fly and a strikeout that pulled Daytona within an out of escaping trouble, the Willemstad, Curaçao native poked a two-run single to right, giving the Mets their first lead, 5-3.
The Tortugas mustered a rally in the home half of the frame, but could not draw it even again. Steiger tapped a run-producing infield single, cutting the deficit to 5-4, but RHP Colby Morris (1.0 IP, H, R, SO) punched out 1B Alex McGarry (0-4, BB, 3 SO) looking to seal the Mets’ win and his first save of the year.
RHP Wayne Parsons (3.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 6 SO) yielded one run in relief for St. Lucie but whiffed six Daytona hitters en route to his maiden victory of the campaign. Tortugas RHP Jake Gozzo (1.2 IP, H, 2 R, ER, 3 BB, 2 SO) walked three in relief, suffering the first loss of his career.
While neither starter received a decision but made positive impressions. RHP Case Williams (4.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, ER, 5 BB, 6 SO) struck out six hitters over 4.2 frames for Daytona. St. Lucie RHP Justin Lasko (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 4 SO) issued two tallies over six frames for the first quality start against the Tortugas in 2021.
Daytona honors its ballpark’s namesake on Saturday night with the Tortugas’ annual Jackie Robinson Day Celebration. As a part of the festivities and the organization’s “Best Dressed” Saturdays, all ‘Tugas players and coaches will don special No. 9 uniforms — like Jackie wore when he broke the modern baseball color barrier on March 17, 1946, on City Island — in the style of the Montréal Royals. The uniforms will be auctioned off online throughout the course of the weekend.
RHP James Proctor *(0-0, 1.29) is scheduled to take the bump for the Tortugas in the fifth game of the six-contest set. St. Lucie is projected to counter with RHP *Joander Suárez (0-0, 6.23)
Season ticket, multi-game plans, group packages, and more 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 Low-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of Minor League Baseball’s Low-A Southeast. The Tortugas play at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona Beach. 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.