Gray dominates, as Reds squeak past Yanks, 3-2

20-year-old goes a career-high six innings, ties career-best with six punchouts

RHP Josiah Gray lasted a career-long six innings and tied a career-best with six strikeouts, as the Greeneville Reds topped the Pulaski Yankees, 3-2, in front of a crowd of 2,168 at Pioneer Park on Friday night. (Doug Gray / RedsMinorLeagues.com)

By Justin Rocke | July 27, 2018 10:16 PM

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- In his first start since being named a Reds' Top 30 prospect by MLB.com, RHP Josiah Gray looked every bit like a star. The 20-year-old went a career-long six innings and tied a career-best with six strikeouts, as the Greeneville Reds snuck past the Pulaski Yankees, 3-2, in front of a crowd of 2,168 at Pioneer Park on Friday night.

With the win, the Redlegs improved their record to 15-20 on the season. Pulaski's loss dropped them to 16-21 on the campaign.

Tied at two going to the bottom of the eighth, Greeneville grabbed the lead in the most bizarre of fashions. With one out, RF Brian Rey (1-3, 2 R, SO) slapped a single to left and stole second with two outs. On a 3-2 pitch, C Rob Boselli (0-2, 2 BB) hit a pop fly to shallow left field. The right fielder got underneath the ball but dropped it as he took a step backward. Rey scored standing up from second to give the Reds the lead, 3-2.

RHP Connor Bennett (1.2 IP, BB, 3 SO) stayed in for the top of the ninth and shut the door. The Buford, Ga. native struck out the first two batters of the inning before getting a line out to short to end the contest and seal his second win of the season.

Scoreless through three-and-a-half, the Reds struck first in the bottom of the fourth. 1B Rylan Thomas (1-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 SO) crushed a delivery over the left-field wall for a solo home run. The blast - his team-leading eighth of the season - put Greeneville on the board, 1-0. 

Later in the frame, Rey reached base on a hit-by-pitch. On a 1-1 offering, SS Miguel Hernandez (1-3, 2B, RBI, BB, SO) stroked a ball over the center fielder's head and off the fence. Rey scored easily from first, while the 19-year-old motored into second with an RBI double, giving the Reds a 2-0 edge.

Gray (6.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 6 SO) was in cruise control by that point. After escaping a bases-loaded jam with one out in the second, the New Rochelle, N.Y. native retired the final 14 batters he faced.

However, despite the great performance, Gray was saddled with a no-decision on Friday, as Pulaski tied it against the bullpen in the eighth.

A walk and a hit-by-pitch started the frame before a wild offering moved the runners to second and third. With one away, SS Max Burt (0-3, BB, SO) drew a walk on four pitches, but the ball squirted away, allowing a run to cross on a passed ball, pulling the Yankees within one, 2-1. 2B Ezequiel Duran (0-4, RBI) then proceeded to hit a double-play grounder to short with men at first and third. The relay throw to first was late, though, permitting the tying run to score.

RHP Pedro Espinola (4.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) got off to a great start for Pulaski but issued both Greeneville runs in the fourth and took a no-decision. RHP Yoiber Marquina (1.0 IP, H, R, 3 SO) struck out three in the eighth but suffered his first loss.

The Reds will look to earn their fourth series win in five tries on Saturday night, as RHP Miguel Medrano (0-2, 7.52 ERA) is expected to take the hill in the series' second contest. Pulaski is expected to counter with the Yankees' No. 21 prospect according to MLB.com - RHP Luis Gil (1-1, 2.11 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. Saturday evening's contest can be heard on GreenevilleReds.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps. 

Fans are encouraged to arrive early, as the first 750 fans through the gates will receive a Tucker Barnhart Bobblehead, honoring Cincinnati's 2017 NL Gold Glove winner.

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.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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