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'Tugas club three homers in rain-shortened 8-5 win

Daytona gets back to .500 thanks to a pair of homers from Allan Cerda in 8-plus inning affair
CF Allan Cerda smashed a two-run home run in the third and added a solo blast in the fifth to record his second career multi-homer game, as the Daytona Tortugas defeated the Lakeland Flying Tigers, 8-5, in a rain-shortened contest at Joker Marchant Stadium on Friday night. (Aldrin Capulong)
August 6, 2021

LAKELAND, Fla. — Daytona smashed some rainmakers in the first half of the ballgame only for Mother Nature to bring the biggest rainmaker of them all. The Tortugas walloped three home runs — including two from CF Allan Cerda — before the game was called due to rain and unplayable

LAKELAND, Fla. — Daytona smashed some rainmakers in the first half of the ballgame only for Mother Nature to bring the biggest rainmaker of them all. The Tortugas walloped three home runs — including two from CF Allan Cerda — before the game was called due to rain and unplayable field conditions in the top of the ninth, giving Daytona an 8-5 victory over the Lakeland Flying Tigers on Friday night at Joker Marchant Stadium.

With the win, the Tortugas have returned to the .500 mark at 41-41. It is the first time they have made it back to that plateau since they were 12-12 at end of May.

The Tortugas (41-41) jumped out in front just two batters into the ballgame. After C Daniel Vellojín (3-4, 2 R, 2B, BB) drew a four-pitch walk to leadoff and, on an 0-1 pitch, 3B Elly De La Cruz (2-4, 2 R, 3B, HR, 4 RBI) blasted one onto the concourse beyond the right-field bullpens. The 19-year-old's third home run in Daytona and sixth of the season put the visitors in front, 2-0.

After Lakeland (30-50) pulled to within a run in the second on an RBI double from CF Ben Malgeri (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, SO), Daytona utilized the gopher ball again.

Vellojín poked a one-out double to right and De La Cruz followed with a triple into the right-field corner. Up 3-1, Cerda (2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SO) proceeded to deposit the next pitch onto the berm in left-center for a two-run home run. His ninth of the season put the Tortugas up four, 5-1.

Two innings later, Cerda was at it again. With one out in the frame, the Bronx, N.Y.-born centerfielder spanked a 1-0 pitch back onto the grassy knoll beyond the left-field wall. Cerda's team-leading 10th long ball of the campaign stretched the lead to 6-1.

The two home runs marked the second multi-home run game of the 21-year-old's career and the third for Daytona this season. Cerda previously hit a pair of home runs in a 7-RBI performance for the Rookie Greeneville Reds against the Johnson City Cardinals on June 27, 2019. C/IF Garrett Wolforth blasted a pair on June 5 vs. Clearwater and OF Wendell Marrero poked two out on July 21 at Fort Myers.

Daytona added another run in the fifth when RF Austin Hendrick (1-4, R, 2B, 2 SO) doubled to right before moving to third and then scoring on two separate wild pitches.

In the sixth, LF Ashton Creal (1-4, R, 2 SO) reached on an infield single before racing to third on a single to right by Vellojín. De La Cruz would produce a sacrifice fly to right to put the Tortugas up a touchdown, 8-1.

Lakeland started made one last push to try and make a valiant comeback in the eighth. Down 8-2 thanks to a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch of 2B Álvaro González (0-1, 2 RBI, BB, SO) in the seventh, the Flying Tigers loaded the bags with nobody out before Malgeri ripped a single to right to draw within five, 8-3.

Following a pair of strikeouts, a throwing error that started off the bat of 3B Carlos Irigoyen (0-3, BB, SO) allowed the inning to continue and permit Lakeland to bring the tying run to the plate, with the bases still full, and Daytona's lead trimmed to 8-4.

RHP Jake Gozzo (0.1 IP, BB) emerged from the bullpen and yielded a bases-full walk to González, cutting the lead to three, 8-5. The converted first baseman did not waver, though. Gozzo induced SS Trei Cruz (1-5, 2B, SO) to ground out to second to end the inning.

After the first two batters of the top of the ninth were retired, the umpiring crew called both teams off the field due to rain and lightning. After a 30-minute torrential downpour, the game was called, giving Daytona the 8-5 triumph.

RHP Bryce Bonnin (5.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 2 BB, SO) only struck out one on Friday, but still managed to keep Lakeland's offense off-balance to earn the fourth win of his professional career. Gozzo, who registered the final out of the eighth, was credited with his second professional save.

The Flying Tigers made an impressive come-from-behind effort in the latter innings, but it was not enough to get RHP Nick Davila (4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) off the hook. The 22-year-old was saddled with his fifth defeat of the season.

On Saturday evening, Daytona is projected to give the ball to RHP José Franco (1-2, 7.24) — who fell one strikeout shy of tying the Minor League record for consecutive punchouts in his last start — as they go for the series victory. Lakeland is scheduled to counter with LHP Jack O'Loughlin (2-1, 2.65). Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network will begin on the MiLB First Pitch app and at 5:45 p.m. leading up to the 6 p.m. first pitch from Joker Marchant Stadium.

Daytona will return to Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Tuesday, August 10, to open up a six-contest homestand against the Jupiter Hammerheads, Low-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. It will be a Breast Cancer Awareness Night presented by Radiology Associates Imaging, as Daytona players and coaches will don special pink-tinted uniforms to mark the occasion. Silver Sluggers Night — the best club in baseball for fans 60-and-over — presented by Conviva Cares Solutions will also be a part of the festivities. Fans can get in on deals at the concession stand with $2.50 Michelob Ultra draft beers.

Season tickets, multi-game plans, group packages, and single-game tickets are currently available and can be purchased online at or by calling the Tortugas’ Ticket Office at (386) 257-3172.

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.