PULASKI, Va. —
Greg Maisto was originally planning a different home in West Virginia to continue his baseball career.
West Virginia University's loss was definitely the Princeton Rays' gain.
Trevor Lubking, Maisto and Steve Ascher combined to allow just four hits, and the Rays pounded out 11 of their own, earning a 4-1 decision over the Pulaski Mariners in front of 1,144 spectators on Saturday night at Calfee Park.
Princeton (5-5) has now won two straight after Thursday night's 17-inning loss to Kingsport.
"That is definitely a good way to bounce back," Maisto said. "That was a long night."
A trio of left-handers took the mound for Princeton. Lubking worked four innings, striking out seven and allowing one hit, and Maisto took his place, also working four frames, surrendering one hit and a strikeout for the Rays.
Maisto picked up the win in relief, and received the game ball for his first professional win.
"That is nice, I didn't know I was going to get that, that is surprising," said Maisto, a 14th round draft choice earlier this month by Tampa Bay." I snaked (the win) from Trevor, but I will take it."
Ascher finished up in the ninth, allowing two hits and Pulaski's lone run in the game.
"That is the best all three have threw the ball so far this year," Princeton manager Danny Sheaffer said. "It was good to have the piggyback situation with Lubking and Maisto.
"I am not quite sure how long that will continue, but I kind of like it the way it is right now."
Maisto, who had committed to play at West Virginia, is hoping to get his own start on the mound next week, having spent his early season relieving Lubking on the mound.
"This will be the last week for that, I should be starting starting next week," Maisto said. "I am looking forward to it, I am excited for it."
Pulaski (6-4), which dropped its second straight game, was knotted in a 0-0 tie through four innings. Patrick Peterson had allowed three hits before being relieved by German product Daniel Thieben after a fifth inning double to right by Carter Burgess and a run-scoring double down the left field line by Cristian Toribio.
Taylor Hawkins followed with a bunt single and was doubled up on a ground ball by Riley Unroe, but that scored Toribio for the 2-0 lead.
That would be all the Princeton lineup would need, thanks to the pitching staff, which had allowed just one baserunner — a triple by Nelson Ward in the first — through the first six innings.
"We were on, they had a tough time with lefties today," Maisto said. "They had a tough time today facing lefties, the lefty change ups they had an especially hard time with. Overall it was a good game."
No argument from Sheaffer.
"The fact that they pitched ahead all night, used their off-speed stuff effectively and kept us in the game until we could get a lead...," Sheaffer said. "They did a good job. I thought we played great in the field and we stole some timely bases and got some big hits."
Princeton added a run in the sixth when Jose Paez drew a two-out walk, stole second and scored on an error by third baseman Yordi Calderon, who fielded a ground ball by Burgess and bounced the throw past first base.
A fourth run scored in the seventh on a single by Hawkins, moved up on a single by Unroe and a ground ball and scored on a single to left by Angel Moreno.
"We strung together hits at the right times," Maisto said. "It worked out for us today."
Pulaski finally got another baserunner in the seventh on a single by Ward, and added two more in the ninth on a two-out single by Estarlyn Morales, who moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Ward's third hit of the game.
Princeton out-hit the Mariners 11-4, with Unroe, Hawkins and Thomas Milone getting two apiece.
Maisto had a difficult decision once he was drafted, either to attend West Virginia or begin his professional career. In the end, it was a no-brainer.
" I was signed to West Virginia and then I got drafted and I decided to come to pro ball," Maisto said. "It was a tough decision, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to play professional baseball.
"It has been my dream since I was real young, it is an opportunity of a lifetime."
Two nights after dropping a 17-inning decision in a game that lasted nearly five hours, the Rays made it two in a row, which helped make Sheaffer's part of the drive back to Princeton on Saturday night a happy one.
"Probably looking back on the season when we are talking about things in late August or early September, we will look at that 17 inning loss and if we could come back and win that game, that was a big game," Sheaffer said.
Still, that was one game. Up next is the second game of a three-game series tonight at Pulaski, with Jose Alonzo on the mound for the Rays.
"We will take it a game at a time," Sheaffer said. "These kids are young and we need to minimize mistakes and if we do that we should be competitive."
— Brian Woodson at email@example.com; Twitter @bdtwoodson
at Calfee Park
Princeton....................000 021 100 — 4 11 0
Pulaski.......................000 000 001 — 1 4 2
Trevor Lubking, Greg Maisto (5), Steve Absher (9) and Taylor Hawkins. Pat Peterson, Daniel Thieben (5), Ugueth Urbina (7), Jarrett Brown (9) and Wayne Taylor. W-Maisto (1-0); L-Peterson (0-1). HR-none. Att-1,144.