Daytona's late push falls short in opener against Lakeland
LAKELAND, Fla. — Trailing 6-0 after five innings, Daytona refused to lay down and rallied to bring the tying run to the plate in the sixth, seventh, and ninth innings, but could not complete the comeback, as the Lakeland Flying Tigers defeated the Tortugas, 6-4, on Tuesday night at Joker
LAKELAND, Fla. — Trailing 6-0 after five innings, Daytona refused to lay down and rallied to bring the tying run to the plate in the sixth, seventh, and ninth innings, but could not complete the comeback, as the Lakeland Flying Tigers defeated the Tortugas, 6-4, on Tuesday night at Joker Marchant Stadium.
After stranding the bases loaded in the first two frames, Lakeland (30-47) was able to get on the board in the third. With a man at second and two out, CF Kingston Liniak (1-5, 2B, RBI, 2 SO) smashed a ball over the leaping glove of the left fielder and off the fence. LF Austin Murr (0-2, R, 3 BB) scored from second on the double to put the Flying Tigers ahead 1-0.
An inning later, back-to-back doubles from RF Austin Schultz (3-5, R, 2B, SO) and SS Trei Cruz (1-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI, 2 BB) pushed another tally across to extend the lead to 2-0. Two batters later, Cruz would score from third to make it 3-0 on a fielding error off the bat of 1B Jake Holton (1-3, 2 RBI, 2 BB).
The Flying Tigers appeared to put the game to rest in the fifth. 2B Álvaro González and 3B Carlos Irigoyen (2-5, R) picked up consecutive singles to begin the inning before Cruz walked to load the bases.
C Eliezer Alfonzo (2-5, RBI) punched a sharp ground ball in the hole between first and second, but 2B Brandon Leyton made an outstanding diving stop to get the out at first, but a run scored to stretch Lakeland's lead to 4-0. Holton proceeded to smack the next pitch into center for a two-run single to pad a six-run Flying Tigers advantage.
Daytona (38-41) started to chip away in the top of the sixth. 3B Elly De La Cruz (2-5, 2 R, 3B, HR, RBI, SO) blasted the second offering of the frame into Lakeland's right-field bullpen for a solo home run. The 19-year-old's second home run with the Tortugas and fifth of the season pulled them within five, 6-1.
The next batter, CF Allan Cerda (3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) subsequently demolished a ball to the back of the grassy berm in left-center for another solo shot. His team-leading eighth of the campaign drew Daytona within four, 6-2.
The 'Tugas added one more in the inning, as SS Ivan Johnson (2-4, R, 3B, BB, 2 SO) and RF Austin Hendrick (1-4, BB, 2 SO) registered back-to-back knocks to put runners at first and third. Leyton (1-3, 2B, RBI, SO) drove a sacrifice fly to right-center to make it a three-run affair, 6-3.
In the ninth, Daytona mustered one last rally. De La Cruz clocked a one-out triple over the right fielder's ahead and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Cerda.
Down 6-4 with two out and the bases empty, Johnson poked a three-bagger down the right-field line to draw the tying run to the plate. LHP Gabe Sequeira (1.1 IP, 2 H, R, ER) — who entered to record the final out in the eighth — stood strong, though, inducing a jam shot fly ball to left to end the ballgame and secure his team-high fourth save.
RHP Carlos Guzmán (5.0+ IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 10 SO) wilted a tad in the sixth, but pieced together one of his best starts of the year for Lakeland. The 23-year-old struck out a career-best 10 over 5.0-plus innings to collect his third win of the season.
It was a disappointing night for RHP Christian Roa (3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 2 SO). Normally with pinpoint control, the Houston, Texas native walked a career-high five and suffered the first defeat of his pro career.
Looking to even the series on Wednesday, the Tortugas are expected to hand the ball to RHP Jason Parker (3-1, 3.92). The Flying Tigers are projected to counter with RHP Joseph Salazar (1-5, 7.43). 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 Joker Marchant Stadium.
Daytona will return to Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday, August 10, to open up a six-contest homestand against the Jupiter Hammerheads, Low-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. It will be a Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Radiology Associates Imaging, as Daytona players and coaches will don special pink-tinted uniforms to mark the occasion. Silver Sluggers Night — the best club in baseball for fans 60-and-over — presented by Conviva Cares Solutions will also be a part of the festivities. Fans can get in on deals at the concession stand with $2.50 Michelob Ultra draft beers.
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 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.