Fabulous Franco fires 'Tugas to historic one-hitter, 2-1
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Searching for a home series victory, RHP José Franco was unhittable. The 20-year-old punched out a franchise-record 11-straight batters over 4.0 hitless innings, as he, RHP Frainger Aranguren, and RHP Nick Hanson combined on a one-hitter in the Daytona Tortugas' 2-1 win over the St. Lucie
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Searching for a home series victory, RHP José Franco was unhittable. The 20-year-old punched out a franchise-record 11-straight batters over 4.0 hitless innings, as he, RHP Frainger Aranguren, and RHP Nick Hanson combined on a one-hitter in the Daytona Tortugas' 2-1 win over the St. Lucie Mets before 1,110 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Saturday night.
Daytona (38-39) struck early once again, grabbing a first-inning lead. C Daniel Vellojín (1-3, R, RBI, BB) began the attack with a single and RF Austin Hendrick (0-2, 2 BB, 2 SO) followed with a walk. After a ground out and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases, SS Ivan Johnson (1-2, RBI, BB) ripped a ground ball in the hole between third and short. SS Branden Fryman made a great diving play to keep the ball in the infield but had no chance to get an out. Johnson reached on an RBI infield single to put the Tortugas up 1-0.
An inning later, 2B Brandon Leyton (1-3, R, 2B, SO) cracked the third offering of the frame off the left-field wall for a double. After moving to third on a ground ball to second, Vellojín stepped up with the infield in. The Cartagena, Colombia native poked a sharp grounder that was snared on a diving play by 2B Warren Saunders. St. Lucie (40-37) managed to get the out at first, but Leyton scored to put Daytona in front, 2-0.
Franco (4.0 IP, 2 BB, 11 SO) took the reigns from there. The second-year pro walked the first two batters he faced in the first but followed with a historic tear. Franco punched out the next 11 St. Lucie hitters in order from the first until the fourth.
One strikeout away from tying the Minor League record of 12 set by Boston Red Sox minor league RHP Yusniel Padron-Artiles at Short-Season Lowell in 2019, Mets RF Alexander Ramírez (0-3, BB, 2 SO) popped out to right to end the fourth and the franchise-record setting streak.
Aranguren (3.1 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 2 SO) entered in the fifth and kept the no-hit bid going with three-up, three-down fifth and sixth innings.
Following a foul out to third to start the seventh, 1B Quinn Brodey (1-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 SO) whacked the first pitch he saw off the retired numbers on a light stanchion in right-center field. The former Stanford Cardinal's first home run with St. Lucie and fifth overall this season snapped the no-hit bid and pulled the Mets within one, 2-1.
St. Lucie rallied again in the eighth. Saunders (0-2, BB, SO) walked to start the frame and, after a fly out to center, Hanson (1.2 IP, BB, 2 SO) was summoned from the Daytona bullpen.
The 23-year-old nearly recorded an inning-ending double play on the first pitch he threw, but following the fielder's choice and an intentional walk, Hanson struck out LF Omar De Los Santos (0-3, BB, 2 SO) to quell the threat.
The Savage, Minn. native stayed on the bump for the ninth and slammed the door shut. Hanson retired the Mets in order to garner his first save of the season and the first of his professional career.
Despite Franco's brilliance, he did not go the requisite 5.0 innings as a starter to qualify for the victory. Aranguren collected his fourth win of the campaign in relief.
St. Lucie's RHP David Griffin (5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO) responded well after giving up runs in the first two frames. However, the 25-year-old was saddled with the first loss of his affiliated career.
The six-game series comes to a close on Sunday. For $2, fans can purchase a “pooch pass” for their four-legged furry friend to enjoy a nine-inning vacation, as a part of a Bark in the Park Night. It will also be a Tiny ‘Tugas Night at the ballpark featuring special games and activities for all kids club members.
Daytona is expected to turn to 20-year-old RHP Gabriel Aguilera to make his Tortugas' debut in the series finale. RHP José Chacín (1-0, 0.00) is anticipated to take the hill for St. Lucie. Gates will open at 4:30. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the first pitch slated for 5:35 p.m. Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network will begin on the MiLB First Pitch app and www.daytonatortugas.com at 5:20 p.m.
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 Low-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of Minor League Baseball’s Low-A Southeast. The Tortugas play at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona Beach. 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.