Sunday, July 29, 2012

Game 35: Greeneville Astros at Bluefield Blue Jays

Check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

ASTROS (21-16)

1 D'Andre Toney DH
2 Marc Wik LF
3 Brian Blasik 3B
4 Ernesto Genoves C
5 Ariel Ovando RF
6 Jean Batista 2B
7 Michael Martinez 1B
8 Jimmy Howick SS
9 Jose Monzon CF

RHP Michael Feliz (First Greeneville start, 5-0, 1.64 in the Gulf Coast League)
BLUE JAYS (15-18)

1 Jorge Vega Rosado DH
2 Eric Arce LF
3 Dwight Smith Jr. CF
4 Seth Conner 1B
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Christian Lopes2B
7 Dickie Joe Thon SS
8 Matt Dean 3B
9 Jacob Anderson RF

RHP Tucker Jensen (2-1, 3.51)


BROADCAST INFO: Sorry folks, no broadcast tonight or tomorrow. The third game of the series will be on the air (7:05 first pitch/pregame at 6:50).

WEATHER: 77 degrees with sunny skies, seems hotter

UMPIRES: PLATE Evan Barger  FIELD Ryan Wills

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Bluefield Blue Jays reached the halfway point of the season on a sour note. They missed a chance to take command in the Mercer Cup series, falling 8-2 to the rival Princeton Rays at Hunnicutt Field on Saturday. The Rays evened the best-of-11 series at 4-4, making the final head-to-head set on August 7-9 in Princeton a best-of-three for the title. Princeton scored first against lefty Deivy Estrada in the second inning. Willie Argo and Ariel Soriano singled to open the frame and Argo scored from third on a John Alexander grounder. Jorge Vega-Rosado cracked his first Bluefield homer in the top of the third to tie the game, but the second baseman’s error opened the door for a three-run third for Princeton. With two outs and the bases empty, Vega-Rosado airmailed a throw to first to extend the inning. Andrew Toles followed by hitting a ball up the middle that Vega-Rosado fielded and flipped to the covering shortstop at second base, Christian Lopes. Lopes dropped the ball, giving the Rays a fifth out that they took advantage of. Argo singled home a run before Soriano added a two-run double. The Rays took the lead for good against Estrada (L, 2-3), who allowed four runs, one earned, in five innings of work. The Venezuelan southpaw has allowed 31 runs this season, but only 14 have been charged as earned. The visitors got a run back in the fifth inning when Matt Dean led off with a double, moved up on Nico Taylor’s flyout and scored on Jordan Leyland’s groundout. Leyland registered his first run batted in as a Baby Jay. The Rays added two runs in both the sixth and eighth innings. Jays reliever Joe Spano was done in by a bloop single, a walk and two run-scoring infield hits. The first was a perfect squeeze bunt by Oscar Hernandez and the second from James Harris made it a 6-2 game. Colby Broussard allowed two more runs in the eighth that ballooned the lead to six. Rays starter Bruedlin Suero (W, 3-3) held the Jays to two runs on five hits in six innings in beating Estrada and Bluefield for the second time in eight days. William Gabay, Kevin Brandt and Daniel Bream each worked a scoreless relief inning to lock down the win. The Mercer Cup series, which Bluefield won last year to prevent the Rays from retiring the Cup with a third straight win, is now even at four. There are three games left in 2012 between the two clubs and whoever wins two out of three in Princeton August 7-9 will take home the trophy.

VS. THE ASTROS: The Blue Jays and Astros split their six-game season series in 2011, with the road team taking two out of three twice. In Bluefield on August 3, the Jays scored two in the ninth to force extra innings, but Chase Davidson’s 11th-inning single won it for Greeneville. Bluefield won the middle game before the Astros won the rubber game. In Greeneville from August 22-24, the two teams split the first two contests and the Jays won the third game to win the series and earn a season split.

RHP TUCKER JENSEN: Right-hander Tucker Jensen was brilliant in a twinbill opener at home against Princeton last Saturday. He retired the first 11 batters he faced before allowing an infield single in the fourth inning. That would be the Rays’ only hit of the game as Jensen went six innings and picked up the win in outdueling Princeton ace Blake Snell. Tucker’s WHIP of 0.90 is the fourth-lowest mark among Appy Leaguers that have pitched 25 innings or more. With a 1.40 BB/9 IP ratio he ranks fifth in the circuit. Last year, he allowed 14 earned runs in 11.1 innings in four starts for Bluefield. He excelled in eight Gulf Coast League starts to begin his career, pitching to a 1.77 ERA with an 8.9 K/9 rate to earn a one-game call-up to low-A Lansing. Between three levels he struck out 56 batters in 57 innings of work. A decorated hurler at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, Tucker was named Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2011, also earning NAIA Second-Team All-America honors. The 22-year-old is the grandson of 1958 American League MVP Jackie Jensen.

RHP MICHAEL FELIZ: 18-year-old Michael Feliz makes his first start for Greeneville after dominating the Gulf Coast League. The Azua, Dominican Republic native went 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in  38.1 innings to earn a call-up on Thursday. He was all over the GCL leaderboards, with his league-leading five wins and 38.1 innings, 1.64 ERA and 0.89 WHIP (2nd in the league), 35 strikeouts and .185 batting average against (3rd). Signed by Houston at 16 in 2010, Feliz made three starts in the Dominican Summer League that season, posting a 4.26 ERA. Last year he moved to the States and put up a 4.32 ERA in 50 innings of work in the GCL.

DEAN’S LIST: Blue Jays third baseman Matt Dean kept on punishing Rays pitching last night. With a fifth-inning double he hit safely in all three games in Princeton. He finished the series 7-for-12 with two homers, five RBIs and four runs scored. A 13th-round draft pick last year, Dean was ranked by Baseball America as Toronto’s 11th-best prospect before the 2012 season. He struggled out of the gate in his first 15 games as a professional, hitting only .189. He’s turned it on of late, hitting .341 (14-41) with nine runs scored and nine runs batted in over his last 13 contests.

ROBERT-OH MY: 17-year-old right-hander Roberto Osuna excelled in Bluefield for the first half of the season, putting up a 1.50 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 24 innings to earn a promotion to Short Season-A Vancouver. He made an incredible Northwest League debut for the Canadians last night in Everett. He struck out 13 AquaSox batters and allowed only one hit in five shutout innings. Vancouver was up 6-1 and an out away from the win, but Everett came back with five runs in the ninth and one in the tenth for an incredible win.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION: The Greeneville Astros are the only Appy League team that the Blue Jays have not faced in 2012. The Astros are 21-16 and in second place in the West Division, four and one-half games behind the Elizabethton Twins after dropping two of three to the Twins on the road over the weekend. Greeneville boasts three of the league’s top eight batting averages. 1B Jean Batista ranks fourth in the loop at .328, 2B Brian Blasik is fifth at .320 and RF Ariel Ovando’s .316 mark is eighth. Batista leads the league with 75 total bases and he is tied with Candido Pimentel of Elizabethton for the league lead in hits with 45.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 7-29

Check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

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