Port St. Lucie, FL — The Dunedin Blue Jays (37-37, 5-3) needed eleven innings to do it, but behind excellent pitching all afternoon, were able to beat the St. Lucie Mets (26-46, 2-5) and clinch their second series-win of the year, and first of the second half with a 2-1
Port St. Lucie, FL — The Dunedin Blue Jays (37-37, 5-3) needed eleven innings to do it, but behind excellent pitching all afternoon, were able to beat the St. Lucie Mets (26-46, 2-5) and clinch their second series-win of the year, and first of the second half with a 2-1 victory at Clover Park.
The Blue Jays opened up the scoring in the second inning after Abiezel Ramirez led the inning off with a stand-up triple. On the very next pitch, Mets’ starter Felipe De La Cruz yanked a slider to Angel Del Rosario that made its way to the backstop, allowing Ramirez to come home on the wild pitch and plate the game’s first run.
Meanwhile, Blue Jays starter RHP Eliander Alcalde was lights out. Alcalde, who after a great start to the season endured a rough month of June, was back to his April-May form. The 19-year-old from Venezuela allowed just two hits while striking out four through his five shutout frames. Alcalde left in line for the win, with Dunedin up 1-0.
But when Dunedin went to the pen in the sixth, St. Lucie found an opening. With MiLB-rehabber RHP Joey Murray on the bump, a one-out walk to Kevin Villavicencio, followed by two stolen bases gave the Mets their chance to tie up the game, and Wilfredo Lara didn’t waste it. Lara singled to left, bringing in Villavicencio to tie it up and make it a brand-new ballgame.
The next three innings went by with neither team threatening to score, and on to extras it went. Ramirez started the tenth inning on second as the automatic runner, advancing to third on a single by Del Rosario to lead off the inning. Del Rosario then stole his way to second, joining Ramirez in scoring position with no outs. A prime opportunity for Dunedin, but Mets’ reliever Bailey Reid stepped up, striking the next two DJays out, and inducing a fly out to end the inning and strand both runners, giving St. Lucie a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning.
RHP Grayson Thurman came back out for the bottom of the tenth, having already pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, Thurman now had to keep the Mets off the board again, now with the winning run in scoring position, and that’s exactly what he did. A ground out, a pop out, and a ground out gave Dunedin another chance headed to the eleventh.
With Rikelbin De Castro starting the inning on second, Jaden Rudd moved him to third on a ground out, and another wild pitch allowed De Castro to score, giving Dunedin a 2-1 lead. Thurman would come back out for a third inning, needing to blank the Mets for a third consecutive time. After a bloop single put runners on the corners with no outs, a shallow fly out kept both runners where they were, and Thurman recorded a big strikeout for out number two. And with two outs, Lara came back up, hitting a deep fly ball to right-center field, and Roque Salinas, who had entered as defensive replacement at the beginning of the inning, ran it down on the waring track to end the game, giving Thurman his first professional win.
With the victory, Dunedin clinched their second series win over the year, improving to 5-3 in the second half. The Blue Jays will look to finish the series in convincing fashion on Monday at Clover Park against the Mets, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m.