The Bristol Pirates crashed the party.
Having scored 63 runs in 19 games, the Pirates scored 10 in this one, as Bristol ruined Bowen Field’s celebration of “Wedding of the Bluefields” with a 10-5 Appalachian League victory in front of 2,089 spectators on what was also a fireworks Friday night.
Bluefield (11-11), which entered having won five in a row, was victimized by a five-run second for Bristol, along with three in the eighth after the Blue Jays had cut a 7-0 lead down to two runs.
The Blue Jays will try to get back on track tonight in the first of three games in the Mercer Cup series at Princeton. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. at Hunnicutt Field.
“We have been playing good...,” Bluefield manager Dennis Holmberg said. “As I have told them all year you try to win two out of three, win two out of three.
“Disappointing loss tonight, but we played well at home and now just try to go to Princeton and play well enough to get two out of three.”
Bristol (5-15), whose previous high run output had been eight, scored five runs in the second on six hits, along with one error on starting pitcher Evan Smith, who twice didn’t execute a properly to first on bunts, one of which resulted in an hit and the other pulled first baseman Rowdy Tellez off the bag.
“The one big inning, the five-run inning, they were going to give us outs,” Holmberg said. “They were bunting, they bunted it right to Smith. (Catcher Dan) Jansen could have been a little more aggressive out in front of the plate to get the out
“When a guy square around to bunt, they weren’t great bunts, but they weren’t bad bunts, the throws were just a mechanical thing with Smith.”
With the bases-loaded and no outs, the Pirates pushed across runs on four straight singles, including one of three hits for Enyel Vallejo and one of two singles apiece for Pablo Reyes and Eduardo Figueroa.
Nick Buckner had three hits and drove in two runs for Bristol. Jerrick Suiter also had two RBIs, while Reyes scored three times and Vallejo crossed the plate twice.
“They had a good approach against Smith,” Holmberg said. “They got some base hits, hit the ball up the middle or away with our game plan as far as pitching in versus pitching out...
“You have to defend the ball, you have to defend the bunt, when they bunt, you defend the bunt and get the out and just minimize the damage. When you give five outs or six outs in the inning, that can happen.”
Bristol added two more in the fourth, chasing Smith in favor of Chase Wellbrock, the second of four pitchers used by the Blue Jays. Figueroa drove in a run with a single, and another run scored the plate on a ground ball out by Suiter.
Meanwhile, Omar Basulto handcuffed Bluefield early, allowing three hits and striking out four in four innings. Cesar Pimentel pitched the final three frames to get the save, but the Blue Jays were able to reach Miquel Ferraras, who picked up the win, and Palmer Betts, with five runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Rolando Segovia walked in the fifth and scored on a double to left by Josh Almonte. Four more came in the sixth, keyed by RBIs singles from Jansen and Richard Urena, and sacrifice flies from Jesus Gonzalez and James Lynch to trim the deficit to 7-5.
“I felt good about getting back in the game 7-5,” Holmberg said. “Then you have a couple of innings where you get a guy on and they get a big hit or two and obviously then it gets stretched out again. We have to handle it better.”
Pimentel was able to work out of a first and second and one out jam in the seventh, and then the Pirates took advantage of a disputed call to add three more in the eighth.
Ryan Borucki, who had helped the Blue Jays retires nine in a row and 12 of 13 with two outs in the eighth, was reached for an infield single by Reyes, who was thrown out trying to steal second, but the 3-2 pitch to Figueroa was called ball four, which brought Holmberg out of the dugout.
“I think the one bad inning and then the call when we had the guy struck out,” Holmberg said. “It was a good pitch. Obviously that just helped that inning continue on and they got a couple of big hits and they got those three runs and that was the difference in the ball game.”
Suiter followed with a single to left to score a run, moved to second on a wild pitch, and two runs came across on a single to left by Buckner.
That proved to be too much for the Blue Jays, who went down in order in the last two frames, snapping their five-game win streak against the Pirates, who entered with by far the worst record in the league.
“It is a funny game,” Holmberg said. “In the Appalachian League, anything can happen on any given night.”
Almonte and Jansen led the Blue Jays’ eight-hit attack with two hits apiece. Tellez doubled and walked twice, while Segovia scored twice in the loss.
Smith, who pitched five innings of one-hit baseball in his last outing, was saddled with the loss. Joey Aquino will start tonight for the Blue Jays.
“Smitty was lights out the last time he pitched, obviously if he pitches half that good this night against a Bristol team, but it is funny how this happens,” Holmberg said. “Again when they give you outs you have got to get them, you can’t give the other team five or six outs.”
—Brian Woodson at bwoodson
@bdtonline.com / Twitter @bdtwoodson
at Bowen Field
Bristol........050 200 030 — 10 14 1
Bluefield......000 014 000 — 5 8 3
Omar Basulto, Miguel Ferreras (5), Palmer Betts (6), Cesilio Pimentel (7) and Tomas Morales. Evan Smith, Chase Wellbrock (4), Ryan Borucki (6), Carlos Ramirez (9) and Dan Jansen. W—Ferreras (1-0); L—Smith (0-1). S—Pimentel. HR—none. Att—2,089.
Bristol gets past Blue Jays in front of large crowd
The Bristol Pirates crashed the party.
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