DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Thanks to a career-high four hits from SS José Torres, the Tortugas jumped over the .500 mark for the first time since May 29, as Daytona painted a 6-4 victory over the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels before 1,295 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Saturday night.
Both teams came out of the gate swinging. Fort Myers (51-52) received a double to left from LF Misael Urbina (1-5, R, 2B) to start the game and quickly took a 1-0 lead on a single from DH Christian Encarnación-Strand (3-4, R, RBI).
Daytona (54-53) had an immediate response. C Daniel Vellojín (0-2, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 SO) started the home first with a walk, stole second, and promptly crossed home on a double to left from Torres (4-5, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI).
The Tortugas crept in front for the first time in the fifth. LF Ashton Creal (1-3, R, 2B, RBI, BB, SO) began the inning with a free pass and scooted to third on a pair of wild pitches. After another walk to Vellojín, Torres rifled a shot into the right-center field alley. Creal scored easily from third, but Vellojín was thrown out trying to score from first. A wild pitch permitted another run to come home, giving Daytona a two-run advantage, 3-1.
The lead did not last long, though. 2B Jake Rucker (1-4, R, BB, 2 SO) ignited a rally for the Mussels with a leadoff walk, while Encarnación-Strand followed with a single. An errant pitch allowed the runners to advance, but a throw down to third squirted into left, allowing a run to score on the error.
Down by a run, 3B Jesús Feliz (1-4, R, RBI) tied the game up at three apiece with a hard groundball to center. After moving to second on a wild pitch and advancing to third on a ground out, the Monte Plata, D.R. native scored on another inaccurate pitch to put the Mighty Mussles back up one, 4-3.
However, much like Daytona, the edge did not stick. The Tortugas quickly knotted the game at four in the bottom of the sixth, as 2B Brandon Leyton (1-3, R, RBI) and DH Debby Santana (1-3, BB, SO) singled to start the frame before moving up to second and third on a fly ball to center. RF Gus Steiger (0-4, RBI, 2 SO) would score Leyton on a ground out to second.
In the seventh, the Tortugas jumped ahead for good. Vellojín earned another leadoff walk and Torres followed with a single to right. After Vellojín scampered to third on a line drive to center, 1B Leo Seminati (0-3, BB, 3 SO) walked to load the bases. Leyton put Daytona in front, 4-3, on a sacrifice fly to right.
CF Justice Thompson (1-4, R) singled to right to begin the home eighth and, after taking second on a 5-3 putout, was driven in on a double into right-center from Creal.
Up 6-4, the Tortugas handed the ball to RHP Jake Gozzo (1.0 IP, BB, 2 SO) to close out the win. The 24-year-old yielded a walk to start the frame but halted any potential rally from there. Gozzo picked up a pair of strikeouts and a fly ball to left to end the game, securing his third save of the season.
RHP James Marinan (5.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, 5 SO) was impressive again for the 'Tugas, tossing 5.0 innings of one-run ball in a no-decision. Out of the bullpen, RHP Nick Hanson (3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) battled back from a bumpy sixth inning to earn his second win.
Making his Fort Myers debut, LHP Cade Povich (3.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, 6 SO) punched out six without factoring into the decision. RHP Ramón Pineda (1.0 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB) allowed the go-ahead run to score in the seventh and suffered his first loss with the Mighty Mussels.
The Tortugas close out the home schedule on Sunday with the annual Scout Night at The Jack. Boys and Girl Scouts and their families will be able to enjoy discounted tickets to that evening’s contest. It will also be another Bark in the Park Night with fans being able to purchase a “pooch pass” for $2 at the box office so their furry four-legged friend can enjoy one last nine-inning vacation on the year, as well. We celebrate our beloved mascot Shelldon’s birthday on a Tiny ‘Tugas Night in Daytona Beach with special games and activities for all members of the best kids club in Volusia County. Daytona will be dressed in their Sunday best with special tuxedo-themed uniforms as part of the “Best Dressed Team in Baseball” series.
Going for their third-consecutive victory, 20-year-old RHP José Franco (2-3, 5.86) is anticipated to take the hill for the Tortugas in their 2021 regular-season home finale. The Mighty Mussels are projected to counter with RHP Regi Grace Jr. (1-0, 3.98). Gates open at 4:30 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. leading up to the 5:35 p.m. first pitch from Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
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.