DAYTONA BEACH, FL - The Tortugas erased an early 4-0 deficit to drop the Dunedin Blue Jays, 11-5, in the series opener Monday evening at Radiology Associates Field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in front of 1,495 fans.
Dunedin put up runs in the first three frames against RHP Vladimir Gutierrez. Bo Bichette reached and scored in his first two career plate appearances against the Tortugas. Connor Panas slugged a 438 foot blast over the right-center field fence for his 12th long ball of the season in the second.
Gutierrez (7-8) tossed 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits, five earned runs, walking one and fanning three to earn the win. RHP Jake Paulson earned his team-leading fourth hold, recording eight outs and working around two hits. RHP Ryan Hendrix turned in a scoreless ninth.
The Tortugas comeback started with a four-run frame in the third, all of the tallies being charged to LHP Tayler Saucedo. The first four men reached, with Luis Gonzalez, the third man in this grouping, bringing home Alfredo Rodriguez with a run-scoring single. Reydel Medina stepped up next and nailed a double over the head of Panas in right field to score both Gonzalez and T.J. Friedl. Medina later came home on a James Vasquez RBI double.
Saucedo couldn't get out of the third inning, retiring just eight batters and permitting four hits and four earned runs. LHP Dan Lietz (0-1) surrendered three runs in the fourth and allowed an inherited runner to score in the third while suffering the setback.
In the home half of the fourth, Daytona scratched across three more runs. Two sacrifice flies hit by Gonzalez and Vasquez sandwiched a bases-loaded walk drawn by Daniel Sweet to put the Tortugas in front, 7-4.
The late innings would feature two homers by the Tortugas. Vasquez slammed a three-run blast over the fence in right for his first Advanced-A dinger in the sixth. Daniel Sweet pulled one into the tennis courts in the bottom of the eighth to extend the Daytona advantage, 11-5.
The Tortugas go for the series victory over the Blue Jays on Silver Sluggers Night and Taco Tuesday at the park. The Metcare Pregame Show fires at 6:50 PM on AM 1230 and AM 1490 WSBB with the first pitch following shortly afterward at 7:05 p.m.
Notes: Daytona has now won two of its last four series openers after losing eight straight…The Tortugas are 4-0 at home against the Blue Jays this season…James Vasquez matched his career-high RBI total by driving in five runs (May 13, 2016 with Dayton)…T.J. Friedl snapped out of his 1-for-21 drought with three hits.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.