Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Game 44: Bluefield Blue Jays at Princeton Rays

Listen live right here and check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates

BLUE JAYS (19-24)

1 Jorge Vega-Rosado SS
2 Eric Arce DH
3 Christian Lopes 2B
4 Dwight Smith Jr. CF
5 Santiago Nessy C
6 Nico Taylor LF
7 Jacob Anderson RF
8 Matt Dean 3B
9 Jordan Leyland 1B

LHP Deivy Estrada (2-4, 3.82)

RAYS (26-21)

1 Brandon Martin SS
2 Reid Redman 2B
3 Andrew Toles CF
4 Willie Argo RF
5 Ariel Soriano LF
6 Oscar Hernandez C
7 John Alexander 1B
8 Darryl George 3B
9 Chad Nacapoy DH

RHP Jonathan Weaver (0-5, 6.23)


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for Blue Jays pregame at 6:50. Tonight's game will also be on local radio on 1240 AM Rooster Classic Country.

WEATHER: Low 80s and a perfect day/night for baseball

Chase Eade  FIELD Travis Godec

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Bluefield Blue Jays battled back against their rivals, but couldn’t finish the job. The Jays rallied from 3-0 down in the seventh inning to tie the game, but the Princeton Rays scored in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-3 victory on Tuesday that puts the Rays one win from taking back the Mercer Cup. Bluefield must win Wednesday and Thursday to keep it. Princeton’s walk-off rally began when Brandon Dorsett (L, 2-1) issued a one-out walk to Ariel Soriano. Soriano swiped second and is now a perfect 10-for-10 on steal attempts. With two outs, Brandon Martin, who knocked a three-run double off Dorsett in a key Mercer Cup win on July 27, bounced a grounder past Dorsett and through the infield for a base hit. Soriano rounded third and scored just ahead of center fielder Dwight Smith’s throw, giving the Rays their third straight win over the Jays. Princeton leads the best-of-11 series 5-4 and can clinch on Wednesday. Bluefield’s offense looked lifeless for most of the game, but once starter Bruedlin Suero departed, the Jays busted out in the seventh inning. Suero pitched six scoreless frames and scattered six singles with five strikeouts and no walks before Daniel Bream came in with a 3-0 lead. Eric Arce led off with a single and after Jacob Anderson walked, Matt Dean grounded a single to right field to plate Arce and put the Jays on the board. With two outs, Jorge Vega-Rosado belted a two-run game-tying triple to make it a brand new game. Zach Butler (W, 1-0) replaced Bream and stranded Vega-Rosado at third. He narrowly pitched a scoreless eighth when luck was on the Princeton side. With two on and one out and the game still tied, Nico Taylor scorched a liner up the middle that would have given Bluefield the lead. Butler threw up his glove and snared it, then doubled off the runner at first for an inning-ending double play. With two and one-third scoreless innings, Butler picked up the win when Princeton walked off. Dorsett, who had allowed one earned run in 20 innings, took the loss after working around an infield single in the eighth. He took over for Julio Carmona, who put up zeroes in the sixth and seventh in relief of Bluefield starter Jeremy Gabryszwski. The righty allowed a first-inning run when Martin led off with a double and Reid Redman singled him home. Gabryszwski, who has a 6.43 first-inning ERA and a 1.50 mark after that in his starts, set down 11 of 13 before John Alexander lined a two-run homer in the fourth. Gabryszwski allowed three runs on six hits in five innings.

VS. THE RAYS: The rival Blue Jays and Rays split the first eight games of the Mercer Cup series, making this week a best-of-three for the title. The Rays and Jays split two one-run games in Bluefield before the third game was rained out. Jeremy Gabryszwski and Griffin Murphy combined for a shutout in Princeton, then the two clubs split a doubleheader at Bowen Field on July 21. The Jays won in Princeton to take a 4-2 lead, but the Rays have taken three straight. In eight games against the Rays, Matt Dean is 10-for-27 (.370) with two homers, eight RBIs and six runs. Willie Argo has hurt the Jays, hitting .367 (11-30) with five RBIs and seven runs in nine games. The Blue Jays beat Princeton in seven of 11 games last year to win the Mercer Cup. That series was also tied 4-4 with three games to play in Bluefield on August 9-11. The Jays won 6-2, then Deivy Estrada pitched five shutout innings the next night to win the clincher and keep the Rays from retiring the Cup.

LHP DEIVY ESTRADA: A native of Valencia, Venezuela, lefty Deivy Estrada has been let down by his defense time and again in 2012. He took the loss in Johnson City on Thursday, allowing five runs (only two earned). In 37.2 innings, the southpaw has allowed 16 earned runs and 20 unearned runs. His previous two outings were back-to-back losses in the Mercer Cup series against rival Princeton. On July 21, he allowed three runs in four innings in a twinbill finale at home. On July 28 in Princeton he allowed four runs, but only one earned, in five innings as the Rays evened the Mercer Cup set at 4-4. He posted a 2.25 ERA in the GCL in 2011, but he had an ERA of 6.94 in Bluefield upon his promotion. He did contribute the clinching victory in the Mercer Cup last year, turning in five shutout innings on August 10. He allowed only four hits, striking out six without walking a man. He took a tough loss in the final game of the Appy League Championship Series when he gave up one earned run in five innings, but was charged with the defeat. He spent the 2010 season in the GCL and was in the DSL in 2009 when he K’d more than one batter per inning (48 in 44 IP).

RHP JONATHAN WEAVER: 22-year-old right-hander Jonathan Weaver gets the start for a potential Mercer Cup clincher. He started the season in the bullpen and posted a 4.60 ERA in nine games. He moved to the rotation on July 29 and has been roughed up in two starts. After allowing five runs in two innings in Burlington his first start, he allowed three runs (two earned) in four innings, losing twice during the Rays’ 6-3 road trip. Weaver faced the Jays on July 21 and took the loss. Tucker Jensen and Blake Snell dueled in a 0-0 game in Bluefield. Weaver came in for the bottom of the sixth and Jacob Anderson immediately homered for the winning margin. The Franklin Park, IL native was drafted in the 21st round out of Central Michigan, where he pitched to a 1.98 ERA in 24 games with the Chippewas. He was drafted in the 17th round out of high school in 2008 by the White Sox, but he chose to attend Heartland CC.

BACKS TO THE WALL: Bluefield led the Mercer Cup 4-2, but has now lost three straight to Princeton. The Rays now have two chances at clinching the Cup starting on Wednesday. Bluefield has to win back-to-back games to hang onto the title, which they won last season. With two more wins, not only would the Jays keep the Mercer Cup for another year, but Bluefield manager Dennis Holmberg would also secure his 1,299th and 1,300th career victories. Bluefield leads Princeton 11-8 in the 20-season all-time series. There was a tie in the 1994 set, but Bluefield kept the Cup.

1,298 DOWN, TWO TO GO: Blue Jays manager Dennis Holmberg can record his 1,300th career victory and clinch the Mercer Cup by taking the next two games. Over 25 seasons as a minor league skipper, he has a career record of 1,298-1,206 (.518). He managed his 2,500th professional game on Thursday. After eight seasons as a 3B/OF in the Milwaukee system he began his managerial career at age 25 in 1977 with the Newark Co-Pilots, the Brewers’ farm team in the New York-Penn League. He then joined the Blue Jays in 1978 as a minor league instructor and has been with the organization ever since. He has spent 24 seasons as a manager and eight as a coach in the Toronto system. He also spent the 1994 and 1995 seasons as the bullpen coach for the big league club. Holmberg has piloted ten playoff teams, including last year’s Appy League runner-up in Bluefield. It was Bluefield’s first postseason trip since 2002. From 2002 to 2007 his Auburn Doubledays made six straight postseasons, including a New York-Penn League championship run in ‘07.

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 8-8
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