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Blue Jays edge Reds, 4-2, to take series opener

Jonathan Willems' game-winning home run bid falls just short in defeat
RHP Josiah Gray yielded four runs (three earned) in three innings, as the Bluefield Blue Jays defeated the Greeneville Reds, 4-2, in front of 926 fans at Pioneer Park on Thursday night. (Tate Russell / The Greeneville Sun)
June 28, 2018

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Greeneville's bullpen combined to toss six innings of shutout relief, but the offense failed to produce a run from the fourth inning on, as the Bluefield Blue Jays captured the opening contest of a three-game series, 4-2, over the Greeneville Reds in front of 926 fans at Pioneer

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Greeneville's bullpen combined to toss six innings of shutout relief, but the offense failed to produce a run from the fourth inning on, as the Bluefield Blue Jays captured the opening contest of a three-game series, 4-2, over the Greeneville Reds in front of 926 fans at Pioneer Park on Thursday night.
With the loss, the Reds have now dropped a season-worst three-in-a-row, as they fall to 3-5 on the year. Bluefield's victory gives them a perfect 4-0 record on the road and gives them an East Division-leading 7-2 mark.
For the sixth time in eight affairs, Greeneville allowed the opposing team to draw first blood. After both teams were retired on nine pitches in the first, 3B John Aiello (2-4, R, SO) reached on a bunt single, 1B P.K. Morris (0-3, BB,SO) walked, and C Hagen Danner (2-4, RBI) singled to put Bluefield in front, 1-0, in the second.
Greeneville answered back, tying the game in the bottom of the frame. With no one on and two outs, 3B Juan Martinez (1-3, 2 R, 2B, BB) ripped a double down the left-field line and scored on a single through the right side by SS Miguel Hernandez (1-4, RBI), evening the contest at one.
The Blue Jays grabbed the lead for good with a three-run rally in the top of the third. CF Dom Abbadessa (2-5, R, 2 SO) and SS Luis De Los Santos (1-5, R, SO) singled on consecutive pitches to start the frame and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. RF D.J. Neal (2-5, R, 2 RBI, 2 SO) followed with a base-hit to left - scoring both runners - to give the Jays a 3-1 edge. The former South Carolina wide receiver would move to third on back-to-back groundouts and come home on a fielding error to push Bluefield's advantage to three, 4-1.
In the fourth, the Redlegs mustered their final tally of the night. Martinez drew a one-out walk and scooted to third on a wild pitch and a groundout. On a 0-1 pitch, LF Zeke White (2-4, RBI) slapped a single to center to drive home the run and pull the squad within a pair, 4-2.
Greeneville would rally in the fifth and ninth, but could not even the tide. CF Brian Rey (2-5) singled and 2B Jonathan Willems (2-5, 2 2B) doubled to start the fifth, but three straight fly outs to the right side ended the rally. The Reds would also put the tying runs on base in the ninth, but Willems bid for a walk-off, three-run homer fell about 20 feet short of the fence.
RHP Josiah Gray (3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, BB, SO) was not as sharp as his first start, suffering the initial defeat of his professional career. RHP Alexis Diaz (4.0 IP, 4 H, 6 SO) and RHP A.J. Moore (2.0 IP, H, 3 SO) picked up the slack in relief, keeping the Reds in the contest with six innings of shutout ball and adding nine combined strikeouts.
LHP Claudio Galva  (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, SO) was not overpowering but got the job done, earning his second-straight win to start the year for Bluefield. RHP Brad Wilson (1.0 IP, 2 H, SO) bent but did not break in the ninth to garner his second save of the season.
RHP Miguel Medrano (0-0, 3.60 ERA) is expected to take the ball for Greeneville in game two of the series on Friday night, while Bluefield is projected to counter with RHP Felipe Castaneda (0-0, 15.43 ERA).
The G-Reds Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:45 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:00 p.m. ET start at Pioneer Park. Friday night's contest can be heard on GreenevilleReds.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps. 
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets early, as it will be the first Fireworks Friday of the season, as - following the final out of the game - there will be a spectacular fireworks display beyond the outfield wall.
Season and single-game tickets are still available and can be purchased online at GreenevilleReds.com or by calling the Reds' Ticket Office at (423) 609-7400.