LAKELAND, Fla. — Daytona watched as their once three-run lead evaporated in the ninth inning, but it did not discourage them. CF Allan Cerda's go-ahead single in the top of the 10th proved to be the difference, as the Tortugas held off the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 4-3, in 10 innings
LAKELAND, Fla. — Daytona watched as their once three-run lead evaporated in the ninth inning, but it did not discourage them. CF Allan Cerda's go-ahead single in the top of the 10th proved to be the difference, as the Tortugas held off the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 4-3, in 10 innings on Thursday night at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The Tortugas (40-41) jumped out in front in the top of the fourth. Cerda (2-5, R, 2B, RBI, SO) started the inning with a double down the left-field line and quickly scored on a single to center from SS Ivan Johnson (2-5, R, 3B, 2 RBI, 2 SO). Four pitches later, RF Austin Hendrick (1-4, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SO) cracked a double to right that brought Johnson around from first, putting Daytona ahead 2-0.
An inning later, Johnson was at it again. C Daniel Vellojín (0-3, R, 2 BB, SO) began the inning with a walk, but was not advanced on a fly out to center and a strikeout. On an 0-1 pitch, Johnson pummeled a ball over the right fielder's head and off the wall. Off on contact with two outs, Vellojín motored around from first to score, as the Atlanta, Ga. native slid feet first into third with a triple to put Daytona up three, 3-0.
Lakeland (30-49) began to chip away in the bottom of the fifth. SS Trei Cruz (0-3, R, 2 BB, SO) drew a one-out walk before DH Eliezer Alfonzo (2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SO) punished an offering beyond the Margaritaville Patio in straightaway right for a two-run home run. The switch hitter's sixth home run of the season pulled the Flying Tigers within one, 3-2.
RHP Miguel Medrano (5.0 IP, H, R, ER, 3 BB, 5 SO) entered out of the bullpen for Daytona in the sixth and retired the first six batters he faced before escaping a jam in the eighth.
Things appeared to be well after the 23-year-old registered a strikeout and a pop up to short to begin the bottom of the ninth. However, after falling behind 2-0 to Alfonzo, the mood soured.
The Barcelona, Venezuela-born DH whisked the next pitch into Lakeland's bullpen in right field for a game-tying solo home run. His second of the night and seventh of the season tied the game at three.
After Medrano buckled down to escape the ninth with the game still tied, the 'Tugas quickly regained the lead in the top of the 10th.
With 3B Elly De La Cruz (0-4, R, BB, SO) at second as the auto-runner to begin the extra frame, Cerda ripped the first pitch of the inning into right-center for a knock. De La Cruz motored around on the single to score, giving Daytona a one-run edge, 4-3.
Medrano stayed on for the bottom of the 10th and finished the job. Despite issuing a walk to the leadoff batter — putting the tying and winning runs aboard with the international tiebreaker rule in effect — the San Pedro de Macorís, D.R. native collected a strikeout and then a double-play ground ball to second, closing out a 4-3 Daytona win.
Neither starter picked up a decision on Thursday evening. Tortugas' RHP James Marinan (5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 3 SO) walked seven but left in line for the victory before the game-tying blast in the ninth. RHP Wilmer Flores (4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 SO) punched out a career-high nine in a no-decision for Lakeland.
Medrano went 5.0 innings out of the bullpen, giving up just one hit on the Alfonzo home run, to earn his second triumph of the season. RHP Chris Mauloni (1.0 IP, H, R) yielded only an unearned run in the extra inning for the Flying Tigers but still was saddled with his second loss of 2021.
Daytona will look to get back to the .500 mark for the first time since the end of May in game four of the series on Friday night. RHP Bryce Bonnin (3-0, 0.95) — the Low-A Southeast Pitcher of the Month for July — is expected to toe the slab for the Tortugas. Lakeland is expected to counter with RHP Nick Davila (3-4, 3.00). 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.