The Princeton Rays had a chance to gain some ground on division-leading Danville on Sunday afternoon, but the Braves scored in bunches, got a good performance from starter Ernesto Silva, and ran off with a 9-4 win at Hunnicutt Field.
Danville (14-6) picked on Princeton (10-10) starter Breudlin Suero for four hits and three runs in the first inning, getting run-scoring doubles from Ronald Luna and Aria Alcantara, plus an RBI single by Blake Brown.
Felix Marte dispatched the first pitch of the fourth inning over the center-field wall for a 4-0 Danville lead.
Meanwhile, Silva gave up only one single in his first five innings, using only 51 pitches. That hit came in the first, when Princeton’s Andrew Toles sped to first base, beating a relay lob from first baseman Casey Kalenkosky to Silva.
In the sixth, the Rays got to Silva for four hits and three runs, cutting the Braves’ lead to one. John Alexander and Ismel Antunez got the frame started with back-to-back singles.
Brandon Martin doubled on the seventh pitch of his at-bat to bring home the Rays’ first run. Toles followed with a two-run single that hopped over the second baseman’s head.
But Braves relievers Charlie Robertson and Ignacio Geronimo combined for two innings of scoreless, one-hit ball after Silva finished the sixth.
Joan Guerrero took the hill for Princeton in the sixth but left with an apparent injury after facing two batters in the seventh. Danville unloaded for its final five runs in that stanza. Aris Alcantara provided three runs on a two-out homer over left field.
The Rays’ Darryl George tallied the last run in the ninth. He singled off closer Zach Jadofsky, reached second when Oscar Hernandez drew a walk, and scored on a groundout by Antunez combined with a throwing error.
Luna and Alcantara were each 3 for 5 for Danville. Seven of Princeton’s nine batters got hits, but only Toles had more than one, batting 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Suero (0-3) took the loss. He struck out four but allowed four earned runs and six hits.
The Rays, who have lost four straight, take on the Braves again today at 7:05 p.m. at Hunnicutt Field. General admission to the bleacher seating will be free. After Tuesday’s league-wide off day, Princeton travels to Danville to play the Braves three more times.
The Rays return home on Saturday for “Coal Heritage Day” at the ballpark, on the first day of a three-game set with the Burlington Royals.
At Hunnicutt Field
Danville.......300 100 500 — 9 12 1
Princeton....000 003 001 — 4 8 2
Ernesto Silva, Charlie Robertson (7), Ignacio Geronimo (8), Zach Jadofsky (9) and Nick DiSantiago. Breudlin Suero, Joan Guerrero (6), Zach Butler (7), Daniel Bream (9) and Oscar Hernandez. WP - Silva (3-1). LP - Suero (0-3). HR - Danville, Marte, 4th, O on; Alcantara, 7th, 2 on. Time - 2:41. Att - 992.