Florida’s bats came alive in the ninth to force extras, but fell short of completing another comeback with a 2-1 loss in 10 innings to the Daytona Tortugas on Sunday afternoon at Osceola County Stadium. The loss hands the Fire Frogs their first series defeat of 2018, as Atlanta Braves affiliate dropped three of four to open up the season.
Marcus Mooney (1×4, R) started the ninth-inning rally off with a double and was moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Anfernee Seymour (0x3). Cristian Pache (1×4, 3B, RBI) blasted an RBI triple off the base of the left-center field wall, plating Mooney to tie things up at one and send the game to extra innings.
In the top half of the 10th, Daytona (2-1) used the new extra-inning baserunner rule to their advantage as Daniel Sweet started the frame at second base with nobody out. After Sean McLaughlin (0-1) induced two groundouts from Malik Collymore and Brantley Bell, pinch hitter Luis Gonzalez knocked in the runner from third for the decisive run.
Florida (1-2) had their chance to knot things up again in the home half of the extra frame, but Mooney flew out to right field with Jordan Rodgers (0x4) at third to end the game.
Wennington Romero started the game for Daytona throwing 6.2 perfect innings before Brett Cumberland(1×3, BB) broke up the bid with a single in the seventh. The southpaw’s final line was seven innings pitched, allowing two hits, no runs and four strikeouts. The 20-year-old took just 70 pitches to get through his outing, but did not factor into the decision.
Jesse Stallings (1-0) earned the win with 1.1 innings out of the bullpen for the Tortugas.
Daytona scored their first run of the game in the fourth with an RBI double off the bat of Mitch Nay, which was the only run Florida starter Joey Wentz allowed on the day.
Wentz tossed four innings allowing three hits, one earned run, one walk and three strikeouts. The bullpen kept the Fire Frogs in the game going a combined six innings allowing just one hit and one unearned run.
Major League rehabber Chase Whitley pitched two perfect relief innings in his first rehab assignment with Florida. Whitley needed just 20 pitches to get through his two innings of work.
Florida will head out on a seven-game starting Monday night with game one of a four-game set against the Fort Myers Miracle at Hammond Stadium, and three against the Palm Beach Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium beginning Friday night. Bryse Wilson (0-0, –) is scheduled to make his season debut on the mound Monday night against the Miracle after his start was rained out on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m.
The Fire Frogs return home to Osceola County Stadium for a six-game homestand against the St. Lucie Mets and Lakeland Flying Tigers beginning April 17. For ticket and promotional information, please visit floridafirefrogs.com.