PRINCETON — The Rays up and down streak continued this week at home against the Bristol Pirates and Elizabethton Twins with two losses against the Pirates and two wins against the Twins in two three-game series.
Thursday night, after giving up a five-run lead and not scoring from the fourth through ninth innings, the Rays scored a run without a hit in the tenth to walk-off winner Thursday night over the Bristol Pirates at Hunnicutt Field.
A scoreless top of the tenth by reliever Stanly Sabino (4-0) was aided by a runner being thrown out at the plate and in the bottom half Gionti Turner was placed on second to start the inning. He moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jhosner Vargas and scored the winning run on a passed ball with Aldenis Sanchez at the plate.
P-Rays starter Jayden Murray allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings on seven hits and a lone strikeout. Addison Moss allowed one run in 1 1/3 innings of relief with three strikeouts and the Pirates (26-28) tied the game in the seventh off Ryan Jackson. He pitched three innings allowing only one run and striking out five hitters.
Jake Guenther opened the scoring for the Rays (26-28) with an RBI single in the first inning and Kevin Melendez added on with a two-run homer, his fourth of the season, in the second inning.
A two-out double by Turner scored Nick Schnell for 32nd RBI of the season. Sanchez scored on a wild pitch in the fourth after reaching base on a walk and a Schnell RBI single scored Jelfry Marte who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
Stuck behind the eight ball early by allowing six runs, and unable to take advantage of its 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position the Rays weren’t so lucky as missed scoring opportunities led to a 8-3 loss on Friday.
The P-Rays only managed six hits and benefitted from eight walks to get runners on base.
The game was tied after one inning at one when Diego Infante drew a two-out walk and came around on a double off the center field fence by Jake Guenther. The 22-yearold first baseman has seven doubles this season and 19 runs batted in along with a .331 batting average.
The P-Rays loaded the bases in the second with two outs on an error and two walks, but a groundout ended the inning, In the third Infante double to lead off the inning and Guenther followed with a walk. Both of them remained at their bases with two strikeouts and a fly out ending the inning.
The Rays broke through in the seventh inning with three walks and a single to bring in one run. A second run scored when a ground ball by Gionti Turner that the third baseman mishandled. Turner is second on the team in runs batted in with 33, just behind Infante.
Returning from injury Matthew Peguero allowed a solo home run in the first inning and only managed to get one out in the second. An error on a potential double play ball with one out was key for the Pirates to score four runs in the inning.
Bristol batted around in the inning with three hits, two walks and a hit by pitch. Peguero allowed four runs, three earned, on two hits in his 1 1/3 innings pitched.
After replacing Peguero in the second inning Cristian Fernandez struggled to get out of the second but did after allowing one run.
He allowed one run in the third but retired his final 10 hitters.
Fernandez allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings while striking out three Pirates and giving up four hits.
Infante was the lone Rays hitter with two hits and Guenther the only one who did not strike out. The P-Rays struck out 12 times. The Rays lost one of their top hitters after Thursday night’s game when Nick Schnell was promoted to the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The top four hitters in the Rays lineup each had one hit, but the rest of the lineup went a combined onefor- 21 with one walk, one RBI and eight strikeouts.
Carter Bach threw two innings of relief allowing two runs on one hit and two strikeouts.
Angel Felipe pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts.
By Saturday, the Rays could not string together leading to only two runs in a loss to the Bristol Pirates at Hunnicutt Field. A night after not having a hit in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position the Rays had three hits in 10 at-bats.
P-Rays starter Seth Johnson allowed one unearned run in his two innings with one strikeout. Reliever Brayden Theriot gave up two runs on four hits in two innings and Bryan Herrera allowed three runs in two innings.
The first run for the Rays came in the sixth when Jake Guenther was hit by a pitch and scored on a single by Jhosner Vargas. The Rays added a run in the eighth when Guenther doubled and came home on a single by Gionti Turner.
Vargas and Angelo Armenta were the two Rays hitters with two hits on the night.
Mitchell Walters threw two scoreless innings and Vincent Byrd allowed one run in the ninth while striking out one.
By Sunday night, however, the Rays moved ahead 4-3 in the fourth inning and relief pitchers Stanley Sabino and Addison Moss combined for five shutout innings to put the game on ice.
Sabino struck out five and walked one over three innings, allowing one hit. Moss collected his second save of the season, striking out two and walking none over two hitless frames.
The P-Rays tied the game up at three in the fourth inning when Jhosner Vargas scored Diego Infante on double to right field. Yunior Martinez plated Vargas on a single to center for the go-ahead.
Infante went 2-for-4. Martinez went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Brett Wisely had a single and an RBI and Aldenis Sanches went 2-for-4.
Max Smith led Elizabethton (27-30), going 2-for-4 with a double and a solo home run.
Day two of the series saw the Rays get hot as they hammered out 13 hits en route to an 8-2 win over the visiting E-Twins 8-2. The victory mark’s the second straight for Princeton over Elizabethton, which is only 2 1/2 games out of the lead in the Appalachian League West Divisional race.
The P-Rays led 7-1 after three innings, piling on a 5-0 lead in the second frame. That inning Princeton got an RBI single from Angelo Armenta and an RBI single from Kevin Melendez. Armenta scored when Aldenis Sanchez reached on a fielding error. Jake Guenther added another RBI single and the fifth run was plated when Diego Infante rapped into a force out at second.
That inning alone was enough to hang the loss on Elizabethton starter Andriu Marin (2-3), who was shelled for eight runs off 12 hits over his 4 2-3 inning shift. He struck out four and walked two. Seven of the eight runs he allowed were earned.
Osiris German took the hill for Elizabethton for the final 3 1-3 innings, quieting things down quite a bit. He struck out three and walked none allowing one hit.
Jose Lopes opened for the Rays, striking out three and walking three, allowing one earned run off three hits over four innings. Trevor Bridgen (2-1) collected the victory after one hitless innings’ work, striking out one and walking none. Angel Felipe collected his second hold of the season, allowing one earned run off one hit over the final three innings. He struck out one and walked one.
Guenther finished 3-for-4 with an RBI for the P-Rays. Armenta finished 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Yunior Martinez went 2-for-4. Melendez, Gionti Turner and Sanchez all collected doubles on the outing.
Unfortunately, the Rays couldn’t sweep even though they had a runner in scoring position with one out in the bottom of the ninth and lost in 11 innings to the Elizabethton Twins Tuesday night at Hunnicutt Field failing to complete the sweep.
The Twins got a one-out double in the tenth to score the go-ahead run and the P-Rays responded with a Diego Infante single to send the game to the 11th.
In the 11th a throwing error allowed allowed two runs to score for the Twins and the Rays (28-31) got one run back on a sacrifice fly by Angelo Armenta to score Aldenis Sanchez but nothing more It was not a great debut for Abiezel Ramirez through three at-bats with no hits and one strikeout. In his fourth at-bat he came through for the P-Rays tying the game at four with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth.
P-Rays starter Matthew Peguero continued his return from injury by throwing two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Aldor Rodriguez struck out four in 3 1/3 innings while allowing three runs on seven hits.
The Rays opened the scoring when Infante double in Daiwer Castellanos who had reached on a bunt single in the fourth inning.
After a two-run homer by the Twins in the top half of the fifth, Kevin Melendez responded with a two-run homer in the bottom half of the inning. It is his fifth home run of the season and scored Yunior Martinez who had reached on a single.
Bryan Herrera threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief while Ryan Jackson allowed the go-ahead homer in the top of the eight but threw a scoreless ninth after the Rays tied it back up. In the tenth he allowed one run before Vincent Byrd got the final out of the inning.
On Thursday and Friday the Rays are up against the Jays in the final two games of the Mercer Cup. Thursday night score was 7-2 Bluefield tying up the Mercer Cup with the winner to be crowned after tonight’s game at 6:30 p.m. at Hunnicutt Stadium.
The Rays will then hit the road against Greenville with a Friday double-header and games Saturday and Sunday; then it is off to Pulaski for two games before returning home against the Yanks to finish up the season.