LAKELAND, Fla. — SS Ivan Johnson tied a career-best with three hits — including a game-tying two-run home run in the eighth — but 1B Jake Holton's single in the bottom of the ninth enabled the Lakeland Flying Tigers to walk-off the Daytona Tortugas and earn a series split, 4-3,
LAKELAND, Fla. — SS Ivan Johnson tied a career-best with three hits — including a game-tying two-run home run in the eighth — but 1B Jake Holton's single in the bottom of the ninth enabled the Lakeland Flying Tigers to walk-off the Daytona Tortugas and earn a series split, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Trailing 3-1 after seven, 3B Elly De La Cruz (2-5, R, HR, RBI, 2 SO) began the top of the eighth for Daytona (41-43) with a bunt single up the third-base line. After he was picked off first base, CF Allan Cerda (0-1, R, 3 BB) drew a walk to continue the rally.
On a 1-1 pitch, Johnson (3-4, R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) punched the offering towards the back of the Tortugas' right-centerfield bullpen. The 22-year-old's two-run blast — his sixth of the season — tied the game up at three.
After Daytona failed to take the lead in the ninth, after putting runners at first and second with one out, Lakeland (32-50) made a push of their own in the bottom half.
DH Álvaro González (0-2, R, 2 BB) walked to start the inning and, after a fly out, moved to second on a walk to LF Austin Murr (1-3, R, 2B, 2 BB, SO). Following a fielding error to load the bases, Holton (3-4, 3B, 2 RBI, SO) stepped in and fell behind in the count with two strikes quickly.
However, with the infield in, the former Creighton Bluejay ran the count to 2-2 before smashing one on the ground past the outstretched glove of the shortstop for a game-winning single to left.
De La Cruz began the afternoon with a bang for the 'Tugas, smashing a one-out, first-pitch home run near the retired numbers beyond the Margaritaville Patio in straightaway right field in the top of the first. His fourth dinger in Daytona — and seventh overall on the season — put the visitors up 1-0.
Lakeland squirted ahead, 2-1, in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a sacrifice fly from Holton and a looping, run-producing double to center from 3B Colt Keith (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB).
The Flying Tigers tacked on another tally in the sixth when they loaded the bags on singles from C Eliezer Alfonzo (1-4, R, BB) and Holton and a walk to Keith. CF Kingston Liniak (0-3, RBI, BB, SO) earned a free pass with the bases saturated to chase home another run, extending Lakeland's edge to 3-1.
RHP James Proctor (1.0 IP, SO) went just one scheduled inning after being reinstated from the injured list earlier in the day. The 23-year-old worked a perfect frame in his first outing since June 27 at Clearwater. RHP Gabriel Aguilera (4.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) piggybacked as the bulk pitcher and went 4.2 innings for Daytona.
RHP Carlos Guzmán (5.0 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 4 BB, 6 SO) was not as sharp as he was on Tuesday for the Flying Tigers but yielded just one run over 5.0 frames in a no-decision.
RHP Erick Pinales (1.0 IP, H, BB) — who threw a scoreless ninth — garnered his second win of the season for Lakeland. Tortugas RHP Nick Hanson (1.1 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, SO) suffered the tough-luck loss for his second defeat.
After the league-wide off day on Monday, Daytona will return home to open up a two-week homestand starting on Tuesday with six games against the Jupiter Hammerheads, the 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.
Neither club has announced a probable starting pitcher for Tuesday's series opener. Gates will open at 6 p.m. 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 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.