DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After a 2-hour and 40-minute delay at the onset of the game due to rain and lightning trimmed a doubleheader to one nine-inning game, it was yet another marathon to the finish. After 10 innings and three hours and 19 minutes of baseball, RF Blake Dunn’s RBI single propelled the Daytona Tortugas to a 9-8 walk-off victory over the Tampa Tarpons, eliminating the visitors from the West Division playoff race, in front of 1,809 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Friday night.
Since game two of Friday’s doubleheader was postponed, it will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday, September 10. Gates will open at 3 p.m. and the first pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. There will be a roughly 40-minute break between the two seven-inning games.
Tampa (34-27, 61-66) appeared on the verge of forcing the 11th inning after a popped-up bunt and soft fly ball to the shortstop. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Dunn (1-5, RBI, BB, 2 SO) took a pitch outside that the Tarpons’ pitcher and catcher mistook for strike three. After returning to the hill, the 23-year-old slapped the next pitch over the second baseman’s head and into right field for a hit. 1B Yassel Pino (1-5, R, 2B, RBI, 2 SO), the automatic runner at second to start the inning, raced home to score the winning run. The walk-off win was the Tortugas’ (24-38, 53-74) second straight and third of the season.
Daytona started quickly, sending 11 hitters to the plate and posting a crooked number in the bottom of the third. LF Jamal O’Guinn (1-3, R, RBI, 2 BB) walked to start the inning and moved to third on a 2B Johnny Ascanio (1-2, 2 R, BB, SO) single. A fielding error off the bat of 3B Austin Callahan (2-6, R, 2B, 2 SO) scored O’Guinn, giving the Tortugas a 1-0 lead.
Following a strikeout and a walk, C Cade Hunter (1-5, R, HR, 4 RBI, 3 SO) demolished a 2-1 pitch in the direction of the tennis courts beyond the right-field wall for a grand slam. The 2022 fifth-round pick’s second home run with the club stretched the ‘Tugas edge to 5-0.
The rally did not stop there, as SS Edwin Arroyo (1-5, R, SO) and CF Justin Boyd (2-5, R, SO) ripped back-to-back base hits. With two out, O’Guinn – at the plate for the second time in the inning – scalded a single back through the middle to score the 19-year-old from second, expanding the initial edge to 6-0.
With one out in the top of the fifth, a pair of…