The road weary Pulaski Mariners (6-4) returned home from a six game trip to face the Princeton Rays (5-5). Princeton’s pitching overwhelmed the Mariners and kept them off the board until their last out, and led them a 4-1 victory.
The game began an old fashioned pitcher’s duel between the Rays’ Trevor Lubking and the Mariners’ Patrick Peterson.
Peterson cruised through the first four innings. He scattered three hits and mixed in seven strikeouts. However, the wheels fell in the top of the fifth inning. Chase Burgess led off the inning with a double and came home to score on a double by Cristia Toribio. Later in the inning, Toribio would score on a double play ball hit by Riley Unroe.
The Rays tacked on an additional insurance run in the sixth inning. Following two quick flyouts, Jose Paez walked. Yordi Calderon then threw away a routine ground ball which allowed Paez to score all the way from second. The errant throw was Calderon’s fifth misplay of the season.
Pulaski has had some struggles with fielding recently. The Mariners committed five errors in the series finale in Bluefield, and followed up that performance with another two today.
“Errors are a part of short-season rookie ball” said manager Rob Mummau. “They are part of the learning process, but I know we will get better as the season progresses.”
Three runs were more than enough for Lubking and the rest of the Princeton pitchers. Lubking went four innings, allowed a single hit, and fanned seven Mariner batters. Greg Maisto relieved Lubking in fifth inning, and he continued to suppress the Mariners’ bats. Maisto went four innings, and surrendered a single hit.
Second baseman Nelson Ward broke the shutout with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Following a single by Estarlyn Morales, Ward laced a single back through the box which allowed Morales to come home. The RBI single was Ward’s third hit of the game.
The Mariners’ bats could muster only four hits—three by Ward—and struck out 10 times.
“Our two strike approach needs to improve” Mummau said. “Tip of the cap to the other guy. He had his changeup working, and he kept us off balance. However, we need to shorten up our swing.”