Orimoloye Overpowers Tortugas in Nail-Biter, 5-4
CLEARWATER, Fla. - For the second-straight night, home runs appeared to be the difference, as Dunedin's RF Demi Orimoloye launched a pair of long balls and drove in four, as the Blue Jays edged out the Daytona Tortugas, 5-4, on Wednesday night at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium.
With Daytona's loss (26-35, 61-65) - coupled with the Clearwater Threshers' 2-0 victory over the St. Lucie Mets - the Tortugas dropped out of a tie for the final playoff spot in the North Division. With 11 games remaining, the 'Tugas are a full game behind Clearwater for second place in the overall standings.
Dunedin (34-27, 75-51) wasted no time grabbing an advantage, as LF Reggie Pruitt (1-4, R, 2B, 2 SO) began the bottom of the first with a double to left-center. Following a steal of third and a walk to 1B Ryan Noda (0-3, R, BB, SO), Orimoloye (3-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) stepped into the box. On a 2-0 delivery, the 22-year-old clocked a high drive that skimmed over the left-field fence for a home run. Orimoloye's 11th dinger gave the Blue Jays a 3-0 edge.
In the third and fourth, Daytona began to chip away. Back-to-back singles by RF Lorenzo Cedrola (2-4, R, SO) and LF Drew Mount (1-4, SO) started the attack. After a double-play grounder, DH Andy Sugilio (2-4, R, RBI, SO) socked a liner into center for an RBI single to pull the 'Tugas within two, 3-1.
An inning later, SS José García (2-4, R, 2B, SO) ignited the stanza with a double off the wall in left-center and later crossed on a knock from C Hendrik Clementina (2-4, RBI). The 22-year-old's single made it a one-run affair, 3-2.
From that point on, both squads would trade runs. 2B Samad Taylor (0-2, RBI, SO) extended the Jays advantage back to two, 4-2, in the bottom of the fourth with a sacrifice fly to right. During the sixth, Daytona cut it to one again on a run-producing single to center courtesy of 3B Bryant Flete (2-4, RBI, SO). It was a 5-3 affair after six frames, as Orimoloye struck again. The Nigerian-born outfielder destroyed a pitch over the wall in right-center for a solo homer - his second of the evening.
Daytona would rally in the eighth and ninth, but could not even the tide. The Tortugas drew within a measly run again, as they loaded the bases and scored on a double play. However, the inning would come to a close with the tying run at third. It was a similar story in the ninth, as the 'Tugas managed to scoot a runner to second with two outs, but a strikeout ended the contest.
RHP Máximo Castillo (5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, BB, 3 SO) failed to make it through the sixth but battled en route to his 10th victory for the Blue Jays. Picking up his second save was RHP Emerson Jiménez (2.0 IP, H, 2 SO) - who entered with the bases loaded in the eighth - and recorded the game's final six outs.
It was a tough night for Daytona's RHP Ryan Lillie (5.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO). The 23-year-old was taxed for four runs in five frames and suffered his eighth defeat of the campaign.
Daytona will try to salvage the final game of the series on Thursday afternoon. RHP Aaron Fossas (1-2, 3.41 ERA) is slated to take the hill for the Tortugas, while the D-Jays are expected to counter with RHP Josh Winckowski (3-5, 3.16 ERA). First pitch for the finale is scheduled for 1 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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