JUPITER, Fla. — Trailing 6-1 going to the sixth inning, Daytona had a lot of work to do to climb out of the hole. The Tortugas rallied for one in that frame and four more in the seventh to tie it, but C Paul McIntosh's go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the seventh was the difference for the Hammerheads, as Jupiter defeated Daytona, 7-6, on Tuesday night at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
Down by five, C Daniel Vellojín (3-4, 3 R, 3B, HR, 2 RBI) sparked a rally to start the sixth with a triple that glanced off the glove of Jupiter's (58-49) left fielder. After a pop-out to first, SS José Torres (0-3, RBI, SO) lofted a sacrifice fly to right to pull Daytona (54-55) within four, 6-2.
With one out in the seventh, the Tortugas' bats woke up with some help from the opponent. A pair of walks to LF Leo Seminati (0-3, R, BB, 3 SO) and DH Garrett Wolforth (0-3, R, BB, SO) were sandwiched around a couple of strikeouts.
Trailing a pitching change, RF Ashton Creal (1-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SO) greeted the new arm rudely. On a 1-2 pitch, the 22-year-old punched a rocket into the gap in left-center for an extra-base knock. Both runners raced around to score, as Creal slammed on the breaks at second with a two-run double.
From there, it was Vellojín's turn again. The left-handed swinging backstop jumped ahead in the count 2-0 and then pounced on the next offering. Vellojín sent a towering drive that not only cleared the fence in right but landed on the roof of the St. Louis Cardinals' offices beyond the wall. The Cartagena, Colombia native's sixth home run of the season drew Daytona back even at six.
However, the tie game did not last. McIntosh (1-3, R, HR, RBI, SO) came to the plate to leadoff the home seventh and quickly scooted into the driver's seat with a 3-1 count. The next offering was put into orbit, as the undrafted free agent out of West Virginia University sent a 113 mph, 434-foot blast beyond the wall in left-center for a solo home run. McIntosh's fourth of the campaign put Jupiter back in front, 7-6.
Daytona would put baserunners on in the eighth and ninth, but could not come back to tie it again. SS Elly De La Cruz (0-3, BB, 2 SO) earned a one-out walk in the eighth but was caught stealing second base. In the ninth, 1B Ruben Ibarra (1-3, BB, SO) walked with two away, but RHP Robinson Martínez (1.0 IP, BB, 3 SO) recorded one last strikeout to seal the Hammerheads' victory.
The Tortugas initially grabbed a first-inning lead, as Vellojín and 2B Brandon Leyton (1-4) began the affair with consecutive singles. A double-play grounder off the bat of Torres brought in Vellojín to give Daytona a 1-0 edge.
Jupiter vaulted in front in the home second when CF Victor Mesa Jr. (1-4, 2 R, BB, 3 SO) drew a walk and 3B Bennett Hostetler (2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, SO) followed with a line-drive home run that snuck out over the fence in right. The Bozeman, Mont. native's third long ball of the campaign put the Hammerheads ahead 2-1.
Later in the inning, LF Tanner Allen (1-3, 2 R, RBI, BB) walked, moved to second on a base hit from DH Davis Bradshaw (2-3, R, BB), and scored on a single to left from SS José Salas (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SO).
Leading 3-1, Jupiter added single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to balloon their lead up to five. Allen drove in a tally with a fielder's choice ground ball in the third, while RF Osiris Johnson (1-5, RBI, SO) looped an RBI single with the bases loaded in the fourth.
Allen scored again in the fifth to make it a 6-1 contest when he singled and went first-to-third on a Bradshaw hit before being granted home when the throw into third base careened into the Hammerheads' third-base dugout.
Neither starter factored into the decision on Tuesday. RHP Joe Boyle (1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) recorded all five of his outs via the strikeout for Daytona but was removed in the second inning due to a high pitch count in the frame. In his first start since August 13 in Daytona, RHP Evan Fitterer (3.0 IP, 2 H, R, ER, 2 SO) hurled 3.0 innings of two-hit ball after being reinstated from the injured list earlier in the day.
RHP Evan Brabrand (1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB) suffered a blown save when he yielded the Vellojín home run in the seventh, but the offense picked him up, as he earned his second win of the year. Martínez recorded the final three outs for his fourth save.
Despite only making one mistake on the hill out of the bullpen, RHP Tyler Garbee (2.0 IP, H, R, ER, SO) suffered his first loss as a Tortuga.
Daytona will try and snap their brief two-game slide in game two of the series on Wednesday evening. RHP Thomas Farr (0-0, 0.00) — who struck out five over 3.0 shutout innings of relief last Wednesday — is expected to make his first start with the Tortugas. The Hammerheads are scheduled to counter with LHP Luis Palacios (5-4, 3.67). Coverage on the Tortugas Radio Network will begin on the MiLB First Pitch app and www.daytonatortugas.com at 6:15 p.m.
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.