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Mighty Mussels rally to stun Daytona 8-7

By AP | Jul 21, 2021

FORT MYERS – The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels rallied for six runs on just one hit in the eighth inning Tuesday, shocking the Daytona Tortugas with an 8-7 comeback win at Hammond Stadium.

The Tortugas’ (31-36) bullpen walked six batters in the fateful inning, coughing up 12 free passes for the night.

Tuesday’s game marked the second time this season that the Mighty Mussels (37-30) erased a five-run deficit to win.

After Fort Myers loaded the bases against Ian Koch, Willie Joe Garry Jr. worked a walk to make the score 7-3. That chased Koch from the game as Daytona brought in Stevie Branche (4-1). Branche promptly walked Ruben Santana on four pitches to make it 7-4.

The next batter was Misael Urbina, who worked a 3-2 count. Urbina was then hit on the forearm with a pitch, which also hit the bat and was ruled a foul ball. After a few minutes on the ground, Urbina recovered and stayed in the game. On the very next pitch, he lofted an RBI single over shortstop to cut the deficit to 7-5.

Branche then banked a pitch off the glove of Tortugas catcher Daniel Vellojin, scoring another run to make it 7-6. After another walk to Jeferson Morales loaded the bases, Aaron Sabato plated the tying run with a free pass. Branche then bounced a pitch which got past Vellojin. Urbina, the runner at third, did not try and score. Despite that, Vellojin threw the ball wildly up the third base line after recovering the ball. Urbina then came scampering home with the winning run.

Left-hander Denny Bentley worked a perfect ninth inning to seal his team-leading seventh save of the season.

Starting pitcher Aaron Rozek became just the second Mussels pitcher to complete seven innings this season. Rozek allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits, but struck out eight without walking a single batter.

Daytona stung three home runs Tuesday, out-hitting Fort Myers 10-5 in the loss.

The Mussels will look to build on the win at 7 p.m. today. Sawyer Gipson Long (4-3, 5.35) makes the start for Fort Myers, opposed by Jason Parker (2-1, 3.99) of the Tortugas. Coverage begins at 6:45 p.m. on the Mighty Mussels Baseball Network.

Box Score: https://atmilb.com/3xYnieC

— Recap provided by John Vittas