Princeton, WV – One run was all the Yankees needed as three pitchers combined to throw the second consecutive shutout for Pulaski and the sixth shutout of the year, which leads the Appalachian League and the Yankees won the series opener 1-0 over the Rays.
Right-handed pitcher Randy Vasquez made his eighth start of the year on the bump for the Yankees. It was his first appearance against the Rays this season and he delivered six innings, gave up just four hits and zero runs while striking out six batters and issuing only one walk.
The first runner from either team to make it to third base came in the top of the fourth inning when Chad Bell hit a single to right field and Gustavo Campero hit a single to give the Yankees runners on the corners. Campero stole second base before a strikeout ended the top half of the fourth. In the bottom half, Appalachian League leader in batting average, Luis Leon, hit a lead off double. A shallow single to right field also gave the Rays a pair of runners on with just one out. The runner stole second to give the Rays runners on second and third base with just one out. On a ground ball to Anthony Volpe, Leon got aggressive trying to put the first run of the game on the scoreboard and was thrown out at home on the fielder’s choice for the second out. The Yankees then caught the runner trying to steal third and the Rays threat, and inning were over.
The Yankees finally got their lone run in the top of the sixth inning. Ryder Green drew a one out walk. During a very solid at-bat from Bell that saw him foul off several pitches during the 10 pitch battle, a failed pick off and throwing error allowed Green to move up to second base. Saul Torres then reached base on yet another Rays error, this time a fielding error on Aldenis Sanchez. Green came around to score and Torres was left standing on second base.
Elvis Peguero came in to replace Vasquez in the bottom of the seventh inning. After striking out the lead off guy, Peguero gave up a triple to the second batter of the inning. With the tying run on third base, Peguero reared back and struck out the next two batters to keep the Yanks lead and build some confidence for himself.
A lead off walk by the Yankees in the top of the eighth was quickly erased as Pulaski hit into the second double play of the night. Princeton got a single in the bottom of the eighth with two outs but that was all and the game headed to the ninth where the Yankees went down in order.
After giving up a lead off single to Leon, Peguero was replaced by Mitch Spence to try and preserve the win for the Yanks. He got the first batter he faced to ground into a double play and then struck out the next batter to cap the night for the Yanks and send them off winners for the eighth straight night.
The Yanks and Rays will face off again tonight in Princeton when the Yankees will go for their 11 series win of the season.