Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The area’s two Appalachian League baseball teams are going in different directions in the win-loss columns, and that trajectory continued on Sunday as the Bluefield Blue Jays beat the Princeton Rays 6-0 and 2-0 in a Bowen Field doubleheader.
The final game was the third straight win for Bluefield (24-12), winners of nine of their last 11 contests. It was the sixth consecutive loss for Princeton (7-29), which is now 1-18 in road games. The Rays have gone 15 innings without scoring a run.
The Blue Jays also took a 3-0 lead in the Mercer Cup Series between the two teams. The first team to win six of those games this year will be declared the series champion.
Before a crowd announced as 1,084, Bluefield got its first score from Dawel Lugo, who saw nine pitches before he drew the only walk of the day off Princeton starter Jorge Rodriguez (0-5). On the next pitch, Jorge Saez drove Lugo home with a double to the right-center gap.
Tim Locastro made it 2-0 in the next frame with a two-out home run over left field, his first professional homer.
The Blue Jays scored four runs in the fourth. Mitch Nay began the big inning with a double. An RBI bad-hop single by Matt Dean, a pair of sacrifice flies by Saez and Jesus Gonzalez, and a run-scoring triple by Derrick Loveless brought the runners to the plate.
Jario Labourt (2-1) earned the game one win, striking out six in six innings, yielding four singles and lowering his ERA to 1.23.
The only runs in game two came on solo home runs. Dawel Lugo yanked his fifth of the season in the fourth inning off Rays starter Hunter Wood, and D.J. Jones got his first Appy League four-bagger in the next stanza off reliever Clayton Crum.
Princeton’s only two hits in the wrapup game were a first-inning single by Armando Araiza and a double in the fifth by Johnny Eierman.
Alberto Tirado (2-2) allowed just those two hits and struck out four batters. Yeyfrey Del Rosario and Brett Barber each pitched one hitless inning and Barber picked up his fourth save.
In the two games combined, Bluefield’s Lugo and Princeton’s Araiza were each 3 for 5. Matt Dean batted 2 for 2 for Bluefield in the first game and Jones was 2 for 2 in the other.
One of Bluefield’s newest additions, 6-foot-6 Lydell Moseby, got his first at-bats at Bowen Field and was 1 for 3 overall, with a double and two strikeouts.
The Rays and Jays go their separate ways until the next Mercer Cup encounters on Aug. 6-8 in Princeton. Bluefield hosts Danville for the next three nights, and Princeton visits Johnson City. Danville trails East Division-leading Bluefield by five games.
At Bowen Field
Princeton.......000 000 0 — 0 4 0
Bluefield........011 400 x — 6 7 1
Jorge Rodriguez, Stepan Havlicek (5), Darren Fischer (6) and Wilmer Dominguez. Jairo Labourt, Adaric Kelly (7) and Jorge Saez. WP - Labourt (2-1). LP - Rodriguez (0-5). HR - Locastro (1), 3rd, 0 on.
Princeton...........000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Bluefield............000 110 x — 2 5 1
Hunter Wood, Clayton Crum (5) and Armando Araiza. Alberto Tirado, Yeyfrey Del Rosario (6), Brett Barber (7) and Garrett Custons. WP - Tirado (2-0). LP - Wood (2-2). Sv - Barber (4). HR - Lugo (5), 4th, 0 on; D.J. Jones (1), 5th, 0 on. Att - 1,084.