PULASKI, Va. —
Blake Snell turned in a scrappy pitching performance and the Princeton bats came alive to lead the Rays to a 6-0, rain-shortened win over the Pulaski Mariners on Wednesday night in the opening game of a three game set at Historic Calfee Park.
Early on things didn’t look too great for Princeton as they were unable to move baserunners, and Snell bent, but did not break on the mound.
The Rays threatened with two down in the first. Andrew Toles had a seeing-eye single to right and Willie Argo walked. Both runners advanced on a double steal, but were stranded when Ariel Soriano grounded out.
Pulaski got to Snell right off the bat. Martin Peguero led off with a single to right and after a fielder’s choice Snell hit Dario Pizzano and walked Jabari Henry to load the bases. Snell, however, rose to the occasion as he got a foul out and a K to get out of the inning without allowing a run.
Oscar Hernandez led off the second with a single off Blake Holovach, but again the Rays could not bring him around.
After going down in order in the third, Princeton’s bats came alive in the fourth. Consecutive singles by Argo, Soriano and Hernandez loaded the bags. John Alexander hit one to first that resulted in an error, allowing Argo and Soriano to score and give the Rays a 2-0 lead. Darryl George singled home Hernandez.
James Harris Jr.’s squeeze bunt plated Alexander and Brandon Martin’s sacrifice fly to left brought home George to make it 5-0.
The Rays added a sixth run in the fifth. Toles opened the frame and reached on an error. Argo then dinged one off the right field foul pole, but it was not above the 23 foot wall. Argo ended up with a double that scored Toles. After a walk to Hernandez, Holovach was lifted in favor of Domingo Brazoban. Brazoban got the next two Rays out to end the inning.
Snell, though shaky at the beginning, finished strong. He allowed doubles in the second, third and fourth inning, but the lefty in each instance worked his way out of jams. In the fifth, his final inning, he retired the side in order.
With lightning flashing and thunder booming, the Rays went down in order in the sixth. Play was halted for about 10 minutes before the teams returned to the field.
Princeton turned to Dan Bream, who hit the first batter he faced, Jordy Lara, in the midst of a torrential downpour. After Lara was hit the umpires walked to the mound, looked at the conditions and sent the teams off the field with the scoreboard clock in center field reading 8:58.
The downpour increased and at approximately 9:30, after the umpires trekked to the Princeton dugout, the Rays players ran for the bus parked behind the left field wall, escaping Pulaski soaking wet, but with a win.
Snell picked up the victory as he worked all five innings. He gave up no runs on four hits, walked two and struck out six.
By rule, play concluded with the last completed half inning, which was the top of the sixth. In the official records Bream will not show an appearance and Lara will not be recorded as being hit by a pitch.
Holovach was tagged with the loss. He worked four-and-a-third innings of seven hit ball. He allowed six runs, of which only two were earned.
Argo and Hernandez each had a pair of hits for the Rays, one of Argo’s a double.
The two teams meet again tonight in the second of their three game series.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
At Calfee Park
Princeton….......................…000 510 — 6 7 0
Pulaski………........................000 00 — 0 4 3
Snell and Hernandez. Holovach, Brazoban (5) and Marlette. W—Snell (4-1); L—Holovach (0-2). Time: 1:50 (:49 delay). Att—628.