SAFE!

Princeton’s Angelo Armenta slides under the tag of Pulaski Yankees’ third baseman.

PRINCETON — The Princeton Rays (5-5) brought their bats to Boyce Cox Field Friday night and it resulted in 12 hits and a win over the Bristol Pirates (3-7).

Eight of nine starters had hits including two each by Brett Wisely, Gionti Turner and Mason Mallard.

Christian Fernandez started for the Rays and went four innings allowing four runs. The only blemish for Fernandez was a grand slam he allowed in the second inning to Jean Eusebio. 

In relief, Wikelman Ramirez (2-1) allowed one run in four inning with two strikeouts. Aldor Rodriguez picked up the save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Wisely doubled in the second inning followed by a triple from Turner who scored on a single by Aldenis Sanchez. Angelo Armenta completed the three-run inning with a single that drove in Sanchez.

The Rays tied the game at four in the fourth when Sanchez reached on a walk and scored on a double from Mallard. Wisely tripled in the sixth and scored on a Turner double to give Princeton the lead it would not relinquish. Turner scored his second run of the game on a fielder’s choice.

The Rays took it on the chin for the following two games in Bristol, falling 8-4 and 8-5 on the Saturday and Sunday games before heading to Burlington to take on the Royals in a three-game series.

The P-Rays came back swinging against the Royals, in Burlington, NC, where starting pitcher Jose Lopez pitched 4 2-3 shutout innings and the P-Rays bullpen took it the rest of the way for a 3-0 Appalachian League three-hit road win Monday night.

Lopez allowed two hits while striking out nine and walking three, but the win was awarded to relief pitcher Brayden Theriot (1-0), who came out for the last out of the fifth inning and preserved the shutout with a hitless sixth inning. Rodriguez collected a hold for his no-hit performance in the seventh frame and Carter Bach allowed a stranded single over the final two innings for his first save of the season.

Princeton (6-7) banged out 12 hits against three Burlington pitchers, saddling Adan Frias (0-1) with the loss. Frias allowed the two earned runs that, in hindsight, were more than enough to put the Royals away.

The P-Rays got the go-ahead in the top of the fourth on a solo homer by Nick Schnell. Diego Infante scored for the 2-0 lead when Turner grounded into a forceout at second.

Turner got his moment of greater glory, hitting a solo shot to left field in the seventh inning to cap Rays scoring and his first one as a member of the Tampa organization.

Jake Guenther went 3-for-3 for Princeton and Yunior Martinez had a triple.

Down 5-0 Tuesday, the Princeton Rays did not give up on the second game with the Royals as they scored six straight including two in the ninth to win 6-5.

A two-run single in the ninth by Schnell was the difference in the game as the Rays clawed back from an early deficit with three two-run innings. Dawson Dimon doubled to leadoff the ninth before Martinez pinch-ran and Armenta walked. Wisely moved them up with a sacrifice bunt before the single to right by Schnell.

Matthew Peguero started for the Rays and gave up four runs in three innings off six hits and four walks. He did not strike anybody out. Stanly Sabino struck out seven in three innings of relief while giving up one run.

Luis Leon cut the lead to three in the sixth with a two-out two-run single that scored Schnell and Infante. Schnell had reached on a fielder’s choice and Infante was hit by a pitch before both of them moved up on a wild pitch.

Jelfry Marte started the rally in the eighth with a single before being pinch-ran by Armenta who moved to second on fielding error. After runners moved to second and third on a ground out Infante singled into left to score Armenta and Wisely scored on a wild pitch. The bases were loaded with one out but a fielder’s choice and strikeout ended the inning.

Mitchell Walters threw three scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts for his third straight appearance allowing no runs. The Royals got a runner to second with one out in the ninth but back-to-back strikeouts from Walters ended the game.

The Rays took advantage of four Royals errors as they only had seven hits and struck out 12 times.

A sweep was not accomplished Wednesday as a three-run homer in the bottom of the eight broke a tie and gave the Royals an 7-4 victory over the Rays. 

Fernandez had the longest start of his season with 5 1/3 innings allowing four runs, two earned, and striking out five with only four hits. Fernandez was cruising until the fifth for the Rays when he gave up two runs and then Burle Dixon had a two-run single in the sixth before he homered in the eighth.

Turner opened the scoring with a two-out double in the fourth inning that scored Guenther who had singled earlier in the inning. An Armenta sacrifice fly scored Jhosner Vargas in the fifth and Luis Leon scored on a double play in the sixth. Leon scored again in the eighth on a fielding error.

Bryan Herrera was saddled with the loss pitching 2 2/3 innings allowing three runs on two hits and one walk.

Guenther, Turner and Martinez led the Rays with two hits apiece.

Princeton had a three-game series beginning Thursday against the Danville Braves before the first meeting of the Mercer Cup begins Sunday.

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