DAYTONA BEACH—Kendry Rojas and Grayson Thurman combined to no-hit Daytona in game one of a doubleheader, but Yerlin Confidan swatted a go-ahead bases-loaded triple to lead the Daytona Tortugas to a 6-4 victory in the nightcap to earn a split of the twinbill with the Dunedin Blue Jays on Saturday night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.
Dunedin (28-31, 60-65) spun the first no-hitter against Daytona since 2019 in taking game one, 1-0, but Daytona (25-32, 54-67) bounced back to ensure not only they split the twinbill, but also to lock up a winning home record for the 2023 reason.
Dunedin took advantage of a miscue in the first inning of game on to take the lead. In his first outing as a Tortuga, Jose Montero earned the first out, but a dropped fly ball to left led to a two-base error. Two batters later, a two-out RBI single from Brennan Orf pushed across a run for the Blue Jays.
The Tortugas then mounted a scoring threat right away. With one out, Rojas walked Johnny Ascanio, then plunked Ethan O’Donnell. However, the right-hander induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat and the inning.
Montero never did throw a clean inning, but did throw three scoreless frames to finish his outing, working around single baserunners in the second, third, and fourth innings, finishing with 4.0 innings, allowing only an unearned tally for his effort.
Rojas, though, kept rolling along. He eliminated a leadoff walk in the third with a double play, then threw spotless fourth and fifth innings, with a pair of impressive defensive plays in the fourth denying Daytona a couple of potential hits.
On the other side, Graham Osman kept Daytona in the game with a scoreless fifth, then pulling a Houdini to escape a bases-loaded, no-out jam with a strikeout, shallow flyout, and a sparkling sliding stop by shortstop Dominic Pitelli and throw to first to get the runner, preserving the 1-0 score.
Rojas, though, returned for the sixth and retired two batters before a walk and error put two on for O’Donnell. However, O’Donnell rolled into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Rojas worked 6.0 hitless innings, allowing two walks and hitting a batter while striking out four before giving way to Thurman in the seventh. Thurman left little doubt, striking out two before a groundout to second ended the no-hitter, with Dunedin completing the 1-0 victory.
In game two, it was Daytona’s turn to jump in front. Ascanio legged out an infield single, then stole second. With two outs, Cam Collier rolled a single through the left side off starter Carson Pierce to give Daytona a 1-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived, though, as Dunedin started the second with a single and a walk off Daytona starter Nestor Lorant. Manuel Beltre stepped up and swatted a three-run home run 365 feet away over the left field fence for a three-run shot to put Dunedin in front 3-0.
An inning later, Daytona got a run back with another two-out hit. Carter Graham led off with a single then moved to second on a wild pitch. After Pierce retired the next two, O’Donnell snuck a base hit into right field to score Graham to trim the lead to 3-2.
Cody Adcock emerged from the Daytona bullpen to begin the fourth and was sharp to start his night, setting Dunedin down in order in both the fourth and fifth frames to start his night. Likewise, Eliander Alcalde entered for Pierce in the fourth for the Blue Jays and also navigated a pair of scoreless frames.
In the sixth, Adcock wobbled, walking the first two batters of the inning. After a flyout, a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position, which set Nick Goodwin up to lift a sacrifice fly to center to up the Blue Jays’ lead to 4-2.
Daytona, though, had a rally in them. Collier struck out to begin the inning, but he reached on a dropped third strike. Jack Moss followed with a single to left and Ariel Almonte walked to load the bases for Confidan. On a 2-2 pitch, the Tortugas center fielder rifled a 112-MPH liner into right-center that rolled to the wall for a bases-clearing triple to give Daytona the lead. After a pitching change, Connor Burns lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Confidan. The four-run frame put Daytona in front 6-4.
After earning the final out of the sixth, Menefee returned for the seventh and started the inning with a strikeout. However, the next three batters walked to load the bases with one down. After a visit to the mound, though, Menefee (7-5) struck out the final two hitters to close out the win, earning his team-high seventh victory in the process.
Daytona finish the series with Dunedin and the 2023 home schedule on Sunday evening. RHP Johnathan Harmon (3-5, 4.06) gets the ball for Daytona against Dunedin RHP Rafael Ohashi (3-5, 5.85). Tomorrow will be our final Shelldon’s Family Fun Day as well as Fan Appreciation Day with giveaways every inning and postgame Kids Run the Bases. First pitch will be at 5:00 p.m. with pregame coverage from Jackie Robinson Ballpark with the voice of the Tortugas, Brennan Mense, will begin at 4:45 p.m. on the Tortugas Radio Network.
Daytona Tortugas single-game tickets and ticket packages are on sale now at daytonatortugas.com, (386) 257-3172, or the box office at 110 East Orange Ave.
ABOUT THE DAYTONA TORTUGAS
The Daytona Tortugas are the Single-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds and a member of Minor League Baseball’s Florida State League. The Tortugas play at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona Beach, Fla. Jackie Robinson Ballpark also plays host to Bethune-Cookman University, the Jackie Robinson Ballpark Museum, and many community events and initiatives of all sizes throughout the year.