TAMPA, Fla. -Trailing by two runs in the eighth, Tampa rallied for a 4-3 lead, but Daytona pushed across a run in the ninth and completed a sweep of the weekend series with a 5-4 win in 10 innings on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
The Tarpons are now on a season-long seven-game losing streak. It was the second-straight game, and fifth time this season, Tampa was unable to hold onto a ninth-inning lead.
A trio of fielding errors led to three unearned runs as the Tarpons continued to struggle on defense. Tampa (17-25) committed nine errors in the series and leads the league with 49.
Jose Garcia jumpstarted the Tortugas by crushing a leadoff homer on the first pitch of the game off RHP Shawn Semple . Daytona loaded the bases with three-straight one-out singles, but Semple struck out Bruce Yari and got a flyout by Mark Kolozsvary to escape the jam.
Back-to-back errors, along with a wild pitch, put runners on the corners with one out in the second, and a run scored as Randy Ventura reached on a fielder's choice. A bunt single and a walk reloaded the bases, but Stuart Fairchild flied out and Daytona left them loaded again.
Wendell Rijo hit a leadoff single in the third and advanced to second on a groundout by Tyler Hill before scoring on a two-out double by Oswaldo Cabrera , cutting the deficit to 2-1.
The Tarpons put runners on base in each of the next three innings against RHP Ryan Lillie, but the Daytona (23-19) defense logged double-plays in the fourth, fifth and sixth.
Semple retired nine-of-10 batters faced before allowing a leadoff single by Yari in the sixth. Kolozsvary followed with a double and, after a strikeout and a pop-out, Semple intentionally walked Garcia before striking out Ventura, stranding the bases loaded for a third time.
Drew Mount sliced a leadoff double in the seventh and advanced to third on a groundout before LHP Dalton Lehnen relieved Semple. Mount scored on a sacrifice fly by Stuart Fairchild, giving the Tortugas a 3-1 lead.
Semple logged his first quality start of the season, allowing three runs (two earned) on nine hits in six and a third innings, walking two while striking out five on 99 pitches (47 strikes).
Hill smashed a leadoff homer off Lillie in the eighth and, two outs later, Isiah Gilliam rolled a single into center. Steven Sensley hit a high pop-up above the infield and reached when third-baseman Yonathan Mendoza dropped the ball, putting runners on the corners.
RHP Ryan Nutof (BS, 1) relieved Lillie, and Sensley stole second before Donny Sands delivered a two-run single to left, giving the Tarpons a 4-3 lead.
Ventura drew a walk to open the ninth and advanced to third on back-to-back groundouts. The tying run scored as Fairchild reached on an error by shortstop Diego Castillo .
Nutof struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth, forcing a 10th inning. Yari began the frame at second and, one out later, Andy Sugilio singled to left. Yari beat a throw home, as Sugilio advanced to second. Sugilio was doubled off after a flyout to right, ending the inning.
Hill opened the bottom of the 10th at second base, but Nutof (W, 1-0) got a groundout by Castillo before striking out Cabrera and Gilliam to end the game.
Tampa tallied double-digit hits for the third-straight game, including multi-hit games by Cabrera (2-for-5, 2B, RBI), Sands (2-for-4, 2RBI), Aguilar (2-for-4, 2B) and Rijo (2-for-4, R). Gilliam (1-for-4, BB, R) reached base twice, and Hill (1-for-4, HR, RBI, R) smashed his third home run.
The Tarpons will continue a homestand with three games against the Florida Fire Frogs, beginning on Monday at 6:30 p.m. RHP Clarke Schmidt (1-2, 4.23) is slated to start against RHP Nolan Kingham (2-1, 3.72) in the opener. Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.
On "Dog-On Mondays," fans can bring their dog to the ballpark with the purchase of a $2 dog ticket. Fans can also purchase an $8 lower reserved ticket that includes a hot dog, chips and a small drink (Special only available for purchase at the GMS Field Box Office).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.