DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Despite trailing three separate times in the first five innings of the contest, the Tortugas would not be denied in the series finale. Daytona utilized a four-run fifth inning to secure a series split, defeating the Palm Beach Cardinals, 7-5, in front of 1,462 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Sunday evening.
In the first three frames, both teams traded tallies. CF Matt Chamberlain (0-4, R, BB, 2 SO) earned a walk to start the game for Palm Beach (17-28) and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After an infield single by DH Osvaldo Tovalin (3-5, 2 R, 3B, 2 SO) and a walk to SS Jeremy Rivas (1-3, R, 2B, BB, 2 SO), C Aaron McKeithan (1-3, 2 RBI) lofted a sacrifice fly to center to put the Cardinals in front, 1-0.
The lead did not last, as Daytona (19-26) responded with a run of their own. DH Jay Allen II (0-4, R, BB, 2 SO) collected a one-out free pass before swiping second. Following another walk to 2B Tyler Callihan (1-3, R, RBI, 2 BB), a pickoff throw to second whacked off the back of Allen's helmet and rolled into left field. The 19-year-old got to his feet and raced around to score from second on the throwing error to tie the game at one.
In the third, Palm Beach jumped ahead again. Tovalin powered a one-out triple into the right-field corner and put the Cardinals back in the driver's seat, 2-1, when he crossed on a wild pitch.
The Tortugas retaliated in the bottom of the frame. CF Blake Dunn (1-3, 2 R, 2B, BB, SO) was plunked to start the inning and, after stealing second, advanced to third on a walk to Callihan and another hit batter, this time LF Jamal O'Guinn (0-1). With the bags full, 3B Michel Triana (2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI) knotted the game at two with a sacrifice fly to right-center.
Palm Beach took their third lead of the game with a crooked number in the fifth. With two outs, Tovalin slapped a single to center to start a rally. On a 2-0 pitch, 1B Brady Whalen (2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, SO) drilled a two-run home run beyond the left-field fence. The 24-year-old's third jack of the campaign put the Redbirds up a pair, 4-2.
The rally did not stop there, as Rivas promptly doubled over the first-base bag and down the right-field line. McKeithan added to the advantage with a run-scoring single to center but was thrown out trying to advance to second on the throw home to end the inning.
Daytona made sure to have the final word in their half of the fifth. Dunn ignited the Tortugas with a leadoff double down the line in left and quickly scored on a base-hit to left from Callihan. LF Fidel Castro (0-1, R) — who entered for O'Guinn earlier in the inning — was drilled with an 0-1 offering to put the tying runs on base.
Triana smashed a single into center, scoring Callihan, to pull Daytona within a run, 5-4. However, a fielding error in center allowed Castro and Triana to advance to third and second, respectively, representing the game's tying and go-ahead runs.
Immediately after a pitching change, 1B Ruben Ibarra (0-2, RBI, BB) popped the second pitch thrown into foul territory towards the Palm Beach right-field bullpen. The catch was made, but Castro slid in safely to score the tying run. On the slide, the Santo Domingo, D.R. native jarred the ball loose from the catcher's mitt and it rolled onto the turf behind home. Triana — who had tagged up to third base on the play — turned on the jets to score on the missed catch error, giving the Tortugas their first lead, 6-5.
The seventh inning brought another insurance run for the 'Tugas. Triana garnered a one-out walk and advanced to second on a walk to Ibarra. C Daniel Vellojín (1-3, RBI, BB) laced a liner into left to drive in a tally and stretch Daytona's lead to two, 7-5.
RHP Hunter Parks (3.0 IP, H, 6 SO) finished the contest for the Tortugas with a flourish. The 21-year-old struck out the side in order in the ninth and matched a career-best with six strikeouts to seal the win and the first save of his professional career.
Neither starter received a decision on Sunday. RHP Alex Johnson (2.0 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) returned to form in his scheduled two-inning outing for Daytona, while Palm Beach's RHP Inohan Paniagua (4.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) yielded six runs (three earned).
RHP Julian Aguiar (3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 3 SO) tossed three frames of relief, earning his third win of the season for the 'Tugas. RHP José Moreno (2.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 3 BB, 2 SO) walked three for the Cardinals and was saddled with his second defeat.
Following the league-wide off day on Monday, the Tortugas will pack up for a six-game road trip against the St. Lucie Mets, the Florida State League affiliate of the New York Mets, starting on Tuesday evening. Neither team has announced a probable starter for the series opener. Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network will begin on the MiLB First Pitch app and www.daytonatortugas.com at 5:55 p.m. leading up to the 6:10 p.m. first pitch from Clover Park.
After the six-game road swing, the Tortugas will return to Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday, June 7, to open up a series against the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, the Florida State League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. It will be a Breast Cancer Awareness Night 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 a Silver Sluggers Night by Conviva, featuring special team store and concession stand deals for members, plus more. The series opener features Taco Tuesday 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.