TAMPA, Fla. - The Tarpons squandered a three-run lead in the ninth as Daytona rallied to go ahead, 5-4. Isiah Gilliam forced extras with a game-tying homer, but the Tortugas claimed a 7-6 win in 11 innings on Saturday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Tampa has now lost four times this season when entering the ninth with a lead.
A crowd of 1,404 showed up on Military Appreciation Night, with the Tarpons wearing special camouflage uniforms to honor our armed forces. Tampa honored local heroes before losing its sixth-straight game.
Pablo Olivares bounced a leadoff ground-rule double over the left field wall off LHP Reiver Sanmartin in the second. One out later, Angel Aguilar lined a first-pitch single into center, scoring Olivares for a 1-0 lead.
Diego Castillo singled and advanced to third on a base hit by Gilliam in the third before scoring on a groundout by Dermis Garcia , giving Tampa (17-24) a 2-0 advantage.
LHP JP Sears stranded five base runners across the first three innings before Daytona (22-19) scored in the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Yonathan Mendoza and Drew Mount put runners on the corners, and Mendoza scored on a groundout by Lorenzo Cedrola.
Sears returned for the fifth but left after hitting Mark Kolozsvary with a pitch (for the second time) to begin the frame. The 23-year-old allowed one earned run on six hits, one walk and two hit-batters, tallying six strikeouts on 69 pitches (43 strikes).
Sanmartín allowed two earned runs on six hits, one walk and one hit-batter in four innings, recording one strikeout on 79 pitches (51 strikes).
Jason Lopez reached on an error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single to left by Aguilar in the sixth. Tampa loaded the bases with one out in the seventh and Tyler Hill scored on a sacrifice fly by Garcia, giving Tampa a 4-1 lead.
RHP Janson Junk retired the first seven batters he faced in relief of Sears before an infield hit and a pair of hit-batters loaded the bases in the seventh. Junk struck out Hendrik Clementina and got Bruce Yari on a groundout to escape the jam.
Mendoza lined a leadoff single in the eighth before Junk struck out Mount and Cedrola. Andy Sugilio extended the inning, reaching on an error by Aguilar at third base. RHP Hobie Harris entered in relief and got Jose Garcia to ground into a fielder's choice to strand the pair.
Harris (BS, 1) returned for the ninth and issued a walk and a hit-batter. One out later, Yari walked to load the bases, and Mendoza looped a two-run single into center. Randy Ventura entered as a pinch-runner for Yari at second, and both runners scored on a go-ahead double by Mount, giving Daytona a 5-4 lead. Harris retired the next two batters to retire the side.
The Tortugas brought in RHP Michael Byrne in the bottom of the ninth, and Gilliam greeted the reliever with a leadoff homer to right, tying the game at 5-5. One out later, Olivares reached on an infield single, but Byrne stranded the runner to force extra-innings.
RHP Braden Bristo (L, 2-1) relieved Harris as Sugilio opened the 10th at second base. Sugilio took third base on passed ball before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Garcia. Aguilar ran at second for Tampa, took third on a base hit by Rijo and scored on a game-tying sacrifice fly by Hill.
A 6-6 tie moved into the 11th and Lopez began at second for Daytona. Lopez took third on a groundout by Clementina and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ventura.
LHP Andy Cox (SV, 1) relieved Byrne (W, 2-2) in the 11th and, with Castillo at second base, struck out Gilliam. Garcia followed with a fly ball down the left field line, but Mount made a diving catch for the second out before Cox struck out Olivares to end the game.
Tampa tallied 12 hits, paced by Castillo (3-for-6, R) and Hill (3-for-4, Sac-F, RBI, R). Gilliam (2-for-4, HR, BB, HBP, RBI, R, SB) and Aguilar (2-for-5, 2RBI, R, 2SB) also logged multi-hit games.
The series concludes on Sunday, with RHP Shawn Semple (0-1, 3.00) set to face RHP Ryan Lillie (1-3, 4.07) at 1:00 p.m. Live play-by-play of the action will be available on the Tampa Tarpons Baseball Network.
As part of Family Funday Sunday, fans can take advantage of $40 Family 4-Packs, which include four tickets, four hats and four $5 concession vouchers (Family 4-Packs are only available at the George M. Steinbrenner Field Box Office. In addition, Kids 14-and-under can the run the bases after the game.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.