Clemens' Clout Downs Daytona, 4-3
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Despite carrying a 2-1 lead into the sixth, Daytona could not hang on. Dunedin's 1B Kacy Clemens' three-run blast in the bottom of the sixth was the deciding factor in the contest, as the Blue Jays topped the Tortugas, 4-3, on Tuesday night at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium.
With the loss - coupled with the Clearwater Threshers' 4-1 win over the St. Lucie Mets - Daytona (26-34, 61-64) now shares the rights to the final playoff spot in the Florida State League North Division with 12 games remaining in the regular season.
Leading by a run, DH Alejandro Kirk (0-3, R, SO) was plunked and LF Ryan Noda (1-3, R, 2B, BB, 2 SO) walked to spark a one-out rally. Following a pitching change and a foul out, Clemens (1-3, R, HR, 3 RBI) stepped in and clobbered the first pitch over the fence in right-center for a three-run home run. The clout - his ninth of the season - put Dunedin (33-27, 74-51) ahead, 4-2.
Daytona would chip away, however. In the top of the eighth, LF Lorenzo Cedrola (2-4, R) got aboard via an infield single and moved to second on a ground out. After a two-out infield single by 2B Alejo López (1-4), RF Andy Sugilio (2-4, R, RBI, BB, SO) hit a slow grounder in the hole at short. Dunedin had no play at first, allowing Cedrola to score and draw the 'Tugas within one, 4-3.
SS José García (1-4, BB) proceeded to come through with a base-hit to center. However, López was gunned down attempting to score from second by CF Reggie Pruitt at the plate, ending the frame.
The Tortugas managed to get the leadoff man aboard in the ninth, but a pickoff squashed the rally. RHP Jackson Rees (1.0 IP, BB, SO) faced the minimum in the inning to garner his fifth save.
Dunedin opened the scoring in the bottom of the second. With nobody on and one out, DH Demi Orimoloye (1-4, R, HR, RBI, SO) clocked a high-arcing shot over the wall in left for a solo homer. The Nigerian-born outfielder's 10th home run put the Blue Jays out front, 1-0.
In the third and fourth, Daytona answered back to take the lead. Sugilio began the third with a free pass and proceeded to swipe second. 1B Bruce Yari's (2-4, RBI, BB, SO) single to center chased the speedster home to knot the contest up at one apiece.
A frame later, CF Jameson Hannah (0-3, R, BB) walked to begin the stanza. The 22-year-old moved to second on a ground out and scooted to third on a base-knock from Sugilio. Finally, a fielding error that came off the bat of García enabled Hannah to score and put the Tortugas the driver's seat by a tally, 2-1.
Despite a solid overall performance, RHP Jared Solomon (5.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO) was saddled with his eighth defeat. The 22-year-old punched out six over 5.1 innings.
LHP Nick Allgeyer (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) - who ended up pitching as Dunedin's bulk-man in relief - garnered his 10th victory of the campaign. The southpaw surrendered just one earned run, following Major League rehabber RHP Ryan Tepera's (1.0 IP, BB, SO) scoreless frame to start.
Looking to even the series up at a game apiece, Daytona is scheduled to hand the ball to RHP Ryan Lillie (3-7, 3.16 ERA) in the second game of the set on Wednesday evening at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium. Dunedin is expected to counter with RHP Máximo Castillo (9-5, 2.72 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Following the final road trip of the season, Daytona will return to The Jack to open up a seven-game homestand and four-game set against the St. Lucie Mets, the High-A affiliate of the New York Mets. It will be a Belly Buster Monday at the ballpark, presented by Marco's Pizza. Starting at just $13, fans can enjoy all-you-can-eat hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and popcorn throughout the evening.
Tickets are still currently available and can be purchased online at www.daytonatortugas.com, or by calling the Tortugas' Ticket Office at (386) 257-3172.
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