By BRIAN WOODSON
PRINCETON — All of a sudden, the Princeton Rays are scoring an abundance of runs. They needed all of them on this night.
Ryan Wiegand and Kyle Spraker each hit home runs, and the Rays reached double digits in runs for the second straight game in a 12-9 Appalachian League win over the Kingsport Mets on Thursday night at Hunnicutt Field.
Princeton (12-10), which defeated the Mets 10-4 on Wednesday, will try for the sweep tonight at 7 p.m. The Rays, now in second place in the East Division, have won three straight, and four of their last five games.
The Mets (7-16) assisted in Princeton’s assault, committing two of its four errors in the second inning when the Rays scored eight runs. The Rays added two more in the fourth, with one of those runners also reaching on a Kingsport error for an 8-3 lead.
Kingsport rallied for four in the sixth, and scored nine runs of their own against the league’s top pitching staff, but Kirby Yates retired the side in the ninth to end the game.
Princeton General Manager Jim Holland gave the grounds crew credit for the game even being played after the field had been flooded earlier in the day when heavy rains struck the area.
The game started on time, and Kingsport (7-16) promptly took a 2-0 lead in the first when Darrell Ceciliani reached on a one-out error and Tyler Vaughn clubbed a Wilking Rodriguez pitch for an opposite field home run over the right field fence.
Kingsport’s fielding woes started with one out in the second when Julio Cedeno struck out, but catcher Taylor Freeman dropped the third strike and Cedeno reached first. Jason Patton drove him in with a double, and the Rays kept swinging, sending 11 men to the plate, scoring eight runs on four hits and two Mets errors.
Princeton scored six of those runs with two outs, led by a Brian Bryles double, and Ryan Wiegand’s long three-run blast over the center field fence.
After Kingsport scored once in the top of the fourth on an RBI double by Cesar Puello, the Rays answered with two more in their half of the frame. Bryles reached on an error and Kyle Spraker — whose father was in town from California — hit a two-run shot over the left field fence.
Kingsport tallied four in the sixth, keyed by an RBI single from Pedro Zapata and a three-run home run by Gerad Mochizuki. R.J. Harris added a solo home run for the Mets in the seventh, the fifth long blast of the game by the two teams. The Mets added a run in the eighth when Zapata singled and eventually scored on a ground ball out by Ceciliani.
Princeton needed four hits in the eighth to out-hit the Mets 11-10. Those four Kingsport errors led to nine of Princeton’s 12 runs being unearned.
Wiegand led the Rays with three hits and two runs scored, while Spraker had two hits and scored twice. Patton had two hits, including a double and an eighth inning RBI single. Patton has 13 hits this season, and seven are for extra bases. Ramon Novas also had two hits for Princeton.
Four Rays scored four runs in the game, including Bryles and Cody Rogers.
The Mets were paced by Ceciliani, Vaughn and Zapata with two hits apiece. Vaughn, Harris and Zapata scored two runs apiece.
X-Rays: Princeton lost closer Hunter Hill prior to the game when he was promoted to Hudson Valley. He joins Jason McEachern, who was the Rays’ opening day starter, but he’s already worked two games in the New York-Penn League for the Renegades.
—Contact Brian Woodson
At Hunnicutt Field
Kingsport…….......200 014 110 — 9 10 4
Princeton…...........080 201 01x — 12 11 2
Jhonathan Torres, Oscar Melendez (5), T.J. Chism (6), Brian Needham (7) and Taylor Freeman. Wilking Rodriguez, Jeff Cinadr (5), Alex Koronis (6), Kirby Yates (8) and Tomas Francisco. W—Cinadr (1-0); L—Torres (0-1); S—Yates (1). HR—Tyler Vaughn (KP) 1, 1st 0 on; Ryan Wiegand (PR) 1, 2nd, 2 on; Kyle Spraker (PR) 1, 4th, 1 on; Gered Mochizuki (KP) 1, 6th, 2 on; R.J. Harris (KP) 1, 7th, 0 on. Att—796.