PRINCETON — It seems fitting that the Mercer Cup will come down to the final game of the season series.
After being held scoreless Tuesday night the Bluefield hitters returned to their form of being the best in the Appalachian League at scoring runs.
A four-run sixth inning was the difference Wednesday night at Hunnicutt Field in a 7-2 win for the Bluefield Blue Jays over the Princeton Rays to tie the Mercer Cup at 5 games apiece.
Jays first baseman PK Morris opened the top of the sixth with a solo home run to greet reliever Addison Moss, his eighth homer of the season. A walk to Leonardo Jimenez was followed by two wild pitches from new reliever Mitchell Walters to move him to third. Jimenez came in to score on a single by Eric Rivera.
A double play looked to extinguish the inning but Ryan Sloniger kept it going with a solo home run to right field, his eighth of the year. Steward Berroa reached on a throwing error by Walters before stealing second, his 14th stolen base of the season. A double from Justin Ammons brought Berroa home for the final Jays run of the inning.
Blue Jays starter Jol Concepcion threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. He had not pitched since Aug. 5 and in his last 14 innings he has not given up a run while striking out 17 hitters.
Reliever Sam Ryan (1-3) was sharp for the Jays (29-31) throwing five innings of two-run ball with six strikeouts. Austin Havekost worked out of an eighth inning with a runner on third base and one out. He threw a scoreless ninth for his third save of the season.
Jayden Murray (0-2) kept the game close for the P-Rays (28-32) by allowing only two runs in five innings with four strikeouts. It was Murray’s third start against Bluefield this season and he has not allowed more than two runs in any of the outings.
Both batter Moss faced scored and Walters allowed two runs in three innings of relief on four hits. Carter Bach gave up an one unearned run in the ninth inning.
Princeton took the lead initially when a Jake Guenther triple scored Daiwer Castellanos who had reached on a double. It was the first triple of Guenther’s professional career and his 22nd RBI of the season.
Spencer Horwitz responded for the Jays in the top of the fourth with a solo home run, his third of the season. The Blue Jays took the lead in the top of the fifth when Ammons doubled in Berroa who had doubled just before.
The P-Rays got their second run of the game in the bottom of the sixth when Diego Infante doubled and moved to third on a ground out. Ryan looked to get out of the inning when he got a swinging strike three from Yunior Martinez but the ball went to the backstop allowing Infante to score.
Ammons was the top hitter for the Blue Jays going four-for-five with three doubles. He scored a run in the ninth after doubling when the Rays committed a fielding on a Morris ground ball.
Rivera had three hits for the Jays while Horwitz added two.
Guenther and Infante each had a pair of hits for the Rays who only managed seven hits collectively.
For the Jays and Rays it would need to take a miracle for either of them to make the playoffs, needing to win every one of their remaining games while the Burlington Royals lose all their games.
The teams play again tonight with first pitch at 6:30 p.m. in the deciding game of the Mercer Cup.
— Contact email@example.com