DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Despite a combined no-hit bid – and a shutout – being broken up with two out in the top of the eighth inning, Daytona still ended the night with a scrum on the diamond. LF Jamal O’Guinn walloped the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off solo home run, providing the Tortugas’ third-straight walk-off victory in a 2-1 win over the Tampa Tarpons in front of 1,606 fans at Jackie Robinson Ballpark on Saturday night.
After a three-hour and 35-minute delay at the start due to rain and lightning, both teams traded zeroes until the bottom of the third. With one out, 2B Braylin Minier (1-3, R, 2B) smashed a bullet ground ball underneath the first baseman’s mitt and into the right-field corner for a double. LF-RF Blake Dunn (2-3, 2B, RBI, BB, SO) stepped up with two out and kept a line drive fair down the right-field line for a two-base knock of his own, placing Daytona (25-38, 54-74) in front, 1-0.
RHP Ryan Cardona (4.0 IP, 3 BB, 9 SO) was magnificent on the bump through four innings. The 22-year-old set a new career-high with nine strikeouts before passing the baton to RHP Hunter Parks (5.0 IP, H, R, ER, 4 BB, 7 SO).
Parks kept the combined no-no intact until the top half of the eighth. RF Raimfer Salinas (0-0, R, 3 BB) coaxed his third walk of the day before advancing to second on a groundout. After a swinging strikeout for the frame’s second out, C Ben Rice (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB, 2 SO) spoiled the chance at history.
On the third pitch of the at-bat, the Dartmouth College alum laced an outside pitch down the left-field line for a double. Salinas easily scored on the Tarpons’ (34-28, 61-67) first hit of the game, tying the contest at one.
Daytona gave themselves a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth, but could not deliver. The Tortugas loaded the bases on a single by Dunn and consecutive walks to C Logan Tanner (1-3, BB, 2 SO) and SS Trey Faltine (0-2, 2 BB, SO), but a swinging strikeout ended the threat.
O’Guinn (1-3, R, HR, RBI) – who entered when RF Yerlin Confidan (0-1, SO) departed in the top of the fourth – eviscerated the first pitch of the final frame on top of the batting cages in left for a walk-off home run. The 380-plus foot blast – his third of the year – sealed Daytona’s thrilling 2-1 victory.
Neither starter factored into the decision on Saturday night. Cardona (4.0 IP, 3 BB, 9 SO) set a new career-high in punchouts (9)…