The Pulaski Yankees pushed their win streak to seven games as they defeated the Danville Braves 5-1 in game one of a three game road series.
Randy Vasquez was phenomenal on the mound for Pulaski tonight as he pitched six scoreless innings and gave up only three hits and struck out eight batters. Vasquez matched a season high for innings pitched by a Yankees starter and has done it twice now as he also pitched six innings against Bluefield in his last appearance on July 11th. His eight strikeouts tonight set a new season high for Vasquez and also tied the team high. Vasquez moves to 2-0 on the season and dropped his ERA from 2.50 to 1.88.
Neither team was able to be very productive at the plate during the first couple of innings as the two clubs combined to get one hit through three frames. The Yankees finally broke through in the top of the fourth inning to plate a run. Ryder Green reached first base on an error by Braves third baseman Garrett Saunders to lead off the inning. Chad Bell hit a ground ball that allowed the Braves defense to get the force out at second base and Bell was on first after beating out the double play. Saul Torres came up big once again for Pulaski. He hit a screamer down the third base line that stayed fair and allowed Bell to score from first and gave Torres a RBI double.
Pulaski struck again in the top of the sixth inning. Green once again led off the inning but earned a hit this go-around as he hit a high chopper up the middle of the infield. Bell moved Green to second with a sacrifice bunt. Green moved up to third base after a passed ball and scored after Torres hit a single to put the Yankees up 2-0.
The two-RBI performance from Torres gives him a total of seven multi-RBI performances on the year. His 17 RBIs on the season puts him in a tie for the team lead with Chad Bell.
Vasquez’s last inning was probably his best of the evening. After giving up a lead off single, Vasquez walked the next batter to put the tying runner on base. After a wild pitch allowed both runners to move up 90 ft. Vasquez looked like his night might have been over. Instead, the Pulaski coaching staff left him out there to work his way out of the mess he created; and boy did he. Vasquez earned back-to-back swinging strikeouts and then got a ground ball to end the inning and end all momentum that Danville was trying to build. If there was hope left for the Braves it quickly diminished after Nelson B. Alvarez hit a triple off the right field wall and then was balked in by Deyvis Julian to put the Yankees up 3-0 to begin the seventh.
Mitch Spence, who earned a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh replaced Vasquez. Spence retired the first five batters he faced before getting into a bit of a jam himself. With two outs in the eighth inning, Spence gave up two straight singles to give the Braves runners on the corners and the tying run at the plate. Spence got the Danville batter to hit a lazy ground ball back to the mound and ended the Braves threat in the eighth.
The Yankees tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth inning to take a 5-0 lead and appeared to be headed towards their third shutout in this now seven-game win streak. Elvis Peguero took over on the mound to close the game for the Yankees. He earned a quick couple of outs before hitting a Braves batter. The Braves runner came around to score after three straight wild pitches from Peguero and gave Danville their lone run. Peguero walked another batter before we got a ground out to end the game and seal the victory for Pulaski.
The Yankees and Braves will face off again in game two tonight at 6:30 p.m. from Danville.