DAYTONA BEACH, FL -The Daytona Tortugas leaned on their trusty pitching staff once again, leading them past the Fort Myers Miracle, 2-1, on Opening Night in front of 4,014 rowdy fans at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark Thursday night.
The Tortugas scored in the first inning for the second straight game, courtesy of a Nick Senzel ground out to first, enabling Daniel Sweet to come home after his leadoff double. The play marked the first time this season that the Reds top prospect has driven in a run.
An error would end up coming back to haunt Fort Myers in the third. Chris Paul couldn't bring in a tricky popup behind the mound to start the inning, allowing the hustling Blake Butler to get all the way to second base. After a Sweet single moved him over, Butler came in on a sacrifice fly by Shed Long, his second of the year, to increase the Daytona lead to 2-0.
The Miracle got their only run off Tortugas starter RHP Jose Lopez in the fifth. Brian Navarreto brought home Sean Miller, who had previously reached on a triple, with a two outs base hit.
That fifth inning was the only blemish for the pitching, however. Lopez (1-1) logged 5 1/3 innings, surrendered five hits, fanned four, and received his first win of his Tortugas career. RHP Sandy Lugo, LHP Juan Martinez, and RHP Geoff Broussard combined to yield just four base runners and strike out six out of the pen over the final 3 2/3 innings.
Despite the excellent pitching effort, Fort Myers had their chances to break through. They left at least one runner on base in each of the last four innings, including leaving them loaded in the eighth. Cody Stashak (0-2) was the tough-luck loser, surrendering just three hits and two runs, one earned, in six innings of work.
The Tortugas continue their Opening Weekend, and 11-game homestand, at The Jack Friday evening. Daytona's RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (0-1, 5.79) will be opposed by RHP David Fischer (0-0, 0.00) of Fort Myers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM, with the pregame starting at 6:45 PM on AM 1230 and AM 1490 WSBB.
Notes: The Tortuga Bullpen hasn't allowed a run in the past 17 2/3 innings pitched, dating back to the previous series opener against Jupiter… The Tortugas won for the first time this season when Gavin LaValley didn't record a hit (1-3)… Daytona notched it's first three-game winning streak of 2017. Last time that happened was August 23rd-26th 2016 (five-game streak)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.