Former Hokie Eddie Campbell struck out five in two innings; Kristian Brito hits first homer
By Cheyne Reiter / Pulaski Mariners
There was plenty of buzz in the ball park as Eddie Campbell got the start for the Mariners on the mound. Campbell played his collegiate career right up the road in Blacksburg with the Virginia Tech Hokies.
With plenty of adrenaline in his first professional appearance, Campbell blew away the Braves in his two perfect innings of work. He struck out the side in the first – all swinging – and retired the side in order in the second with two more K’s.
Noel De La Cruz (1-0, 2.31 ERA), originally slated to start, was the first reliever out of the bullpen for M’s Manager Chris Prieto, and the Dominican shut down the Braves with six innings of two-run ball. He allowed just four hits, the only damage done in the sixth inning on a two-run home run by Danville’s Connor Lien. He walked none and struck out four. Left-hander Leoncio Munoz pitched a scoreless ninth for Pulaski.
As for the Pulaski offense, there was no slowing down from game one when the M’s put up 12 runs.
After slugging five home runs the night before, the Mariners cleared the fence just once – a two-run opposite field blast from Kristian Brito – but it didn’t matter against Braves’ starter Michael Flores. The southpaw lasted just three innings, giving up four hits, five runs (all earned), and four walks. He struck out five.
Zach Shank and Jesus Ugueto ignited the M’s with back-to-back triples to lead off the bottom of the first. Ugueto eventually came in to score on a Brito bases-loaded walk.
Pulaski added to their lead in the fourth with the home run from Brito, his first. Franklin Diaz followed with a double which chased Flores. Ernesto Silva relieved Flores but was roughed up right away. Gabe Franca tripled into the right-field corner which scored Diaz, and Franca scored moments later on a Shank RBI single. One out later, Isaiah Yates joined the fun with an RBI double to left scoring Shank.
With a 7-0 lead, Pulaski never needed to claw their way back in this one. They instead cruised behind De La Cruz’s right arm and have now won 4-of-5 on their current six-game home stand.
Shank led the M’s going 3-for-5 with a double, triple, two RBI’s, and two runs scored. Diaz was 2-for-4 with a double and run scored.
After scoring just two runs and being swept on the road at Burlington, the Pulaski offense has erupted in their five home games at Calfee Park. The M’s have hit nine home runs and have totaled 39 runs in those five contests.
The Mariners will wrap up their series with Danville tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. M’s right-hander Ramire Cleto (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will face Braves’ righty Jorge Montenegro (0-0, 6.00 ERA). Pulaski will then hit the road for a four-game set with the Bristol White Sox before returning to Calfee Park next Thursday for a brief three-game series again with the Danville Braves.