Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 20, 2012

Blue Jays peck Rays

PRINCETON — It isn’t easy spelling or saying Gabryszwski. It’s been even tougher to hit his pitches.

Jeremy Gabryszwski and Griffin Murphy combined to allow just five hits, and Jacob Anderson had three hits from the bottom of the lineup, leading Bluefield to 2-0 Appalachian League victory over Princeton in front of 1,413 spectators on Friday night at Hunnicutt Field.

The game was called before a batter reached the plate in the bottom of the ninth when a sudden cloudburst drenched the field. It took all of 21 minutes for the decision to be made at 9:38 p.m.

“That is a tough way to lose,” Princeton manager Michael Johns said. “You would at least like to give yourself a chance in the bottom of the ninth, at least burn their closer for tomorrow’s doubleheader, but that is the way it happened.”  

Bluefield (12-16), which took a 2-1 lead in the Mercer Cup series, scored in the first inning on a wild pitch, and added a run in the ninth on a throwing error.  

The 6-foot-4 Gabryszwski needed just 42 pitches to get through five innings on the mound, throwing just 9, 10, 8, 7 and 8 pitches to shut down the Rays. The second round draft choice last June out of a Crosby, Texas high school surrendered just four hits, struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.

Gabryszwski earned his first win of the season, while the right-hander lowered his ERA to 1.50, which is good for third in the league.

 “He has been pitching rather well here lately, he has really been stepping it up,” Bluefield manager Dennis Holmberg said. “He had a little bit of a soft extended spring training, but getting into the routine of pitching every fifth day and getting his work in has helped get progressively better.

 “He worked fast, he threw strikes, he changed speeds, everything that they try to teach. He was doing a great job with that.”

 It wasn’t just Gabryszwski. Murphy, a second round draft choice in 2010 from Highland, Calif., worked three innings, surrendering two hits and striking out three to pick up the save. Princeton (15-15) didn’t draw a walk in the game.

 “Murphy was outstanding for three innings,” Holmberg said. “You pitch the gap from the five to the eight. We had two guys that did an incredible job for eight innings.”

 Bluefield out-hit Princeton 8-5, and three of those hits were deflected off pitchers or gloves. The Blue Jays scored in the first against Jacob Faria, who threw 37 pitches in his only inning on the mound, leaving the bases loaded with the lone run scoring on a wild pitch.

 Alex Azor reached on a shot that deflected off Faria, and one out later, Dwight Smith Jr. added a single off the glove of diving second baseman Reid Redman. Faria walked two batters and and also threw a pitch in the dirt that got past Oscar Hernandez to allow Azor to score.

 Holmberg was disappointed they didn’t score more.

 “We have talked about it before, getting the pitcher on the ropes in the first inning…,” Holmberg said. “We talked about how you don’t have to wait until the eighth or ninth inning to win a ball game.

 “You can win it in the first or second inning when you get that starting pitcher on the ropes like we had. We can get the knockout blow and score three or four runs and then they go to the bullpen and that is what we did and they started to use some pitching.

 “With the doubleheader tomorrow it is even more important to get him out early and get to the bullpen.”

 Princeton’s bullpen was solid, especially Kevin Brandt, who replaced Faria in the second and struck out nine, allowed three hits and two walks in four innings on the mound.

 However, the Rays simply couldn’t score a run. Brandon Martin led off the first with a double, but was doubled off on a line drive, the first of two double plays in the opening three innings for the Blue Jays.

 “We had chances early in the game and we didn’t score,” Johns said. “It was a tough one.”

 Princeton managed to get a runner to second again in the third and on a Willie Argo double in the fourth, but the Rays had no answers for Bluefield pitching. Thirteen of the final 14 batters were retired by Gabryszwski and Murphy.

 “The right-hander located his fastball really well and kept us off-balanced,” Johns said. “We had the leadoff batter on in the first and couldn’t get him over. The lefthander (Murphy) was crafty. He mixed his off-speed pitches and kept us off-balanced, he did a nice job.”

  Bluefield was led at the plate by Anderson, who entered the game batting .164, but the first round supplemental pick last June had a double, two singles and a walk, raising his average to .200.

  “It is good to see Jacob get some hits. That might be some confidence and be a little bit of a feel good attitude for him,” Holmberg said. “He has been battling, he has been struggling, but he has been getting some hits here lately so we are happy with that.”  

 Princeton stayed close, led by Brandt and Daniel Bream, who replaced William Gabay after three batters in the sixth and allowed one hit and struck out two in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Joan Guerrero gave up the run in the ninth. The Rays struck out 15 Bluefield batters.

 Johns was pleased to still be trailing by just one run heading into their first at-bat. Martin was slated to bat in the bottom of the ninth against Bluefield closer Wil Browning, but the rain didn't allow that moment to happen.

 “We were fortunate to get out of that first inning,” Johns said. “Brandt was really good and Bream matched him and Guerrero gave up the run on the error so our bullpen did a nice job.

 “They kept us in it and gave us a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth and it didn’t happen.”  

 Smith, whose father Dwight Smith _ a former major league player with the Chicago Cubs _ was in attendance, had two hits and was hit by a pitch, while Santiago Nessy added a double.

 “The guys played good tonight,” Holmberg said. “We had more chances obviously than they did, but we swung the bats well and we were just a hit away from really breaking the game open a little it.”

 Princeton had five batters with one hit apiece, including doubles from Martin and Argo.  

 The clubs will meet today in a doubleheader at Bowen Field. The first pitch of the opener of the two seven inning games is slated for 5 p.m.

 Holmberg will have his message ready prior to the games. Bluefield left 12 runners on base in this one, compared to three for the Rays. The Bluefield manager wants more runs early in the game to avoid so many close games. The Blue Jays are 6-11 in games decided by two or fewer runs this season.  

 “We have talked about those things,” Holmberg said. “It will be on the menu tomorrow to talk about and we will be better because of it.”

Bluefield pitcher Joe Musgrove was traded to the Houston Astros, Friday.

— Contact Brian Woodson at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

At Hunnicutt Field

Bluefield…..........……….100  000  001 — 2  8  0

Princeton….....………….000  000  00x  — 0  5  1

x-game called by rain in bottom of ninth

Jeremy Gabryszwski, Griffin Murphy (6) and Santiago Nessy. Jacob Faria, Kevin Brandt (2), William Gabay (6), Daniel Bream (6), Joan Guerrero (9) and Oscar Hernandez. W—Gabryszwski (1-0); L—Faria (1-2); S—Murphy (1) . Time—2:20. Att—1,413.

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