There was a light slate of games on the docket tonight for the Rays farm system, but they made sure to provide the fans entertainment. Three of the five games went into extra innings, providing almost enough bonus baseball to make up for the missing games. Ryan Roberts helped provide the drama in a walkoff win for the Bulls last night, as he continues to make a case for a contending team to inquire about his services.
Durham Bulls 4, Charlotte Knights (White Sox) 3 (Twelve Innings)
With the game tied at 1-1, the Knights took the lead in the fourth. After leadoff batter Mike McDade was hit by a pitch, Hector Gimenez hit an RBI triple to put the Kights ahead. Gimenez came home on a two out double off the bat of Tyler Greene, and the Knights had a 3-1 lead. However, the Bulls refused to give up. After a rally in the sixth fizzled, Vince Belnome hit a two run home run in the eighth to tie the game. The score remained tied heading into the bottom of the tenth, when the Knights had an opportunity to get that elusive final run. With two out and runners on second and third, Greene popped out to end the threat. Another opportunity for Charlotte went by the wayside in the eleventh, and the Bulls completed the comeback in the twelfth. Brandon Guyer led off the inning with a single, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch moved him to third, and Ryan Roberts made sure that the chance would not be squandered, drilling a double to left to give the Bulls their first lead of the game. Cory Wade set down the Knights in order in the bottom of the inning, and the Bulls earned the 4-3 comeback victory. Jeff Beliveau picked up the win, allowing a walk and striking out two in an inning to relief. Roberts was 3-6 with a double, a run scored and an RBI.
Charlotte Stone Crabs 5, St. Lucie Mets 1
Typically, when one sees that the opposition was held to five hits over the course of the game, one would assume that the starting pitcher had an excellent performance. However, tonight’s game was truly a team effort. Jacob Partridge pitched the first four innings for the Stone Crabs, holding the Mets to one hit and two walks. The Stone Crabs finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth when Jake Hager singled, stole second and scored on an error. Partridge left after the fourth, and was replaced by Ramon Ramirez, who went to work preserving the lead. That lone run held up until the top of the seventh, when Dustin Lawley led off the inning with a home run. However, the Stone Crabs came right back in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with two outs. Kes Carter drove in two runs with a base hit, and Charlotte had runners at first and third. They then executed a double steal, with Lucas Bailey getting his first stolen base of the year as he swiped home. Ryan Brett singled to drive in Carter, and the Stone Crabs took a 5-1 lead. That score held up, as Matt Ramsey pitched the final two innings to preserve the victory. Ramirez got the win, allowing one run on two hits and a walk, striking out four in his three innings. Brett was 2-4 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Vermont Lake Monsters (A’s) 2, Hudson Valley Renegades 1 (Ten Innings)
Aaron Griffin deserved a much better fate than a no decision for his efforts. Aside from a mistake that led to a home run to Ryan Gorton in the sixth to tie the game, Griffin was virtually unhittable for most of the night. The Renegades got their run an inning earlier, when Granden Goetzman doubled with one out, moved to third on a groundout and scored on James Harris‘ single. The game remained tied at 1-1 after nine, as neither team had a true scoring threat. The Lake Monsters broke through again in the tenth, as Wilfredo Solano doubled to lead off the inning, and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Another sacrifice plated Solano, and Vermont completed the comeback to take the 2-1 victory. Eli Echarry took the loss, giving up the run on one hit and two walks over 1.2 innings. Goetzman was the Renegades best hitter, going 1-4 with a double and a run scored in a game where the Renegades were held to five total baserunners.
Pulaski Mariners 10, Princeton Rays 3 (Eleven Innings)
The Rays had an excellent opportunity to take command of the game in the second inning, as they put runners on second and third with no outs. However, Elias Torres grounded to third, and the lead runner was thrown out at the plate. The Rays pushed a run across on a sacrifice fly to take the lead, but the squandered opportunity would come back to haunt them. Hunter Lockwood homered in the third to extend the lead, but Pulaski came back in the fourth with a run of their own. Princeton had another golden scoring chance in the fifth, with runners on first and third and one out, but only got one run when Lockwood hit a sacrifice fly, putting the Rays on top 3-1. The Mariners tied the game in the top of the sixth, when Kristian Brito hit a two run double to knot the score. Princeton wasted another opportunity in the seventh, putting a runner on third with no out, only to see him get thrown out at the plate. Pulaski made the Rays pay for those missed opportunities in the top of the tenth, when they exploded for seven runs. Joseph DeCarlo led off the inning with a home run, and Brito capped off the inning with a three run shot of his own, as the Mariners pulled away with the 10-3 win. Oscar Armenta took the loss, getting tagged for all seven runs on seven hits in his inning of work. Lockwood was 2-4 with a home run, a double and two RBIs.
GCL Rays 3, GCL Twins 2
After the Twins jumped out to a 1-0 lead, the Rays came back in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with one out. A force out tied the game, and Kean Wong followed with an RBI single to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. That score held up until the seventh, when Zach Larson drove in Jason Kanzler with a two out base hit to tie the game. However, the Rays still had one last run left in them, as they loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Clayton Henning hit a sacrifice fly to center, plating Thomas Milone to give the Rays a walkoff 3-2 victory. Edgar Gomez earned the win, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings of relief, allowing one walk while striking out two batters. Wong, Milone and Erick Vasquez each had two hits in the victory.