The Pulaski Mariners walked-off in the bottom of the ninth inning for a thrilling 5-4 win against the Bluefield Blue Jays
Sunday night was a win for the Pulaski Mariners and a win for playing within the system. It was the most selfless of plays, the sacrifice bunt, which led to the throwing error by Bluefield third baseman Gabe Cenas that scored the game-winning run.
Pat Peterson (0-1, 2.88 ERA) started on the hill for Pulaski. He battled through five-and-two-thirds innings of three-run ball. Peterson fanned seven Blue Jay batters.
The Blue Jays scored one run in the fifth inning off Peterson-a double by Jesus Gonzalez drove home Aaron Attaway who singled earlier in the frame.
Bluefield scored two more in the sixth inning on one swing. First baseman Rowdy Tellez crushed a Peterson offering into deep right-centerfield for a two-run home run. Tellez's bomb chased Peterson from the game.
"Peterson gave us a great effort" manager Rob Mummau said. "He mixed all three of his pitches well. He did a good job of throwing strikes early in the count."
Nursing a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning, Rohn Pierce surrendered the game-tying run. Pierce allowed three singles in the inning. Gabe Cenas' single drove in Josh Almonte.
Pierce pitched two-and-a-third innings and allowed the one run. All of his hits came in the eighth inning, and Pierce struck out six Bluefield hitters.
Pulaski sent their seven-eight-nine batters out for the bottom of the ninth inning. Taylor Zeutenhorst led off the ninth inning with an infield single to Richard Urena. Urena traveled far to his right to field the ball, but with his momentum going toward third he was unable to get off a clean throw.
With one on and none outs, Tom Verdi bounced a seeing-eye single through the hole at short for another single. Verdi was three-for-four with three singles on the night.
Chase Nyman stepped to the plate with one clear task-lay down a bunt to advance the runners. Nyman fulfilled his objective by dropping a bunt down the third baseline. Cenas and pitcher Chase Wellbrock briefly collided, but Cenas recovered to grab the ball. With plenty of time to gun down Nyman at first, Cenas' throw to first was wide off the mark-a crucial error which gave Zeutenhorst enough time to reach home and win the game.
"I had the sacrifice on, and Nyman put a good bunt down" said Mummau. "[Cenas] bobbled the ball, and you saw what happened after."
Sunday marked the second straight game where the Mariners found success in the late inning. Saturday night, Pulaski scored one run in the eighth inning to pull within one run, and loaded the bases in the ninth inning. The game-winning run never materialized Saturday, but the Mariners were able to finish the job on Sunday night.
"Everybody is pulling for one another" said Mummau. "It takes a team effort, and all of the guys have been ready to go."
The two teams play Monday night with the series on the line. First pitch is scheduled for 7pm.