Despite a great pitching performance from starter Hunter Wood, Saturday night’s game came down to one momentum changing pitch that would result in the Stone Crabs losing 6-1 in game three of the Florida State League Championship Series.
Wood and Daytona starter Jake Paulson each delivered five straight innings of scoreless baseball before the Tortugas lit up the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning. Paulson even held a no-hitter until Braxton Lee singled in the sixth.
But it was Daytona getting things done in the top of the sixth inning. Ty Washington led off the inning with a single to left and Brian O’Grady followed with a walk. At that point, Michael Johns made the call to the bullpen, bringing in Mike Franco in relief. He quickly got two outs but then gave up a three run homer to Sebastian Elizalde to give the Tortugas a 3-0 lead.
Daytona pushed across a trio of runs again in the ninth. An RBI triple by Elizalde, an RBI double by Taylor Sparks and an RBI single by Blake Trahan gave Daytona a 6-0 lead.
The Stone Crabs avoided the shut-out by scoring in the bottom of the ninth. Casey Gillaspie drew a two out walk to put a runner on the bases. Gillaspie moved into scoring position following a single by Granden Goetzman. Justin Williams drove home Gillaspie on a single to center to put the Stone Crabs on the scoreboard. But it wasn’t enough as the Stone Crabs fell 6-1.
Wood was charged with the loss. Paulson was the winning pitcher for Daytona.
Game Four of the best of five series will be played Sunday evening at Charlotte Sports Park. It will be a battle of aces as Brent Honeywell (1-0, 1.29) will square off against the FSL Co-Pitcher of the Year Amir Garrett (1-0. 0.00).