GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- 2B Brian Rey clocked a solo home run and tied a career-best with three runs batted in, but the Princeton Rays completed the sweep to finish off the 2018 regular season, defeating the Greeneville Reds, 8-5, in front of 1,089 fans at Pioneer Park on Wednesday night.
With the loss, Greeneville finishes their inaugural season as a Reds' affiliate at 28-40. Princeton's victory sends them into the postseason with an Appalachian League-best 44-22 clip.
Scoreless after one, Princeton once again broke through in the second. 1B Carlos Vargas (1-4, 2 R, RBI, BB) walked and CF Beau Brundage (2-4, 2 R, 2 SO) singled before C Jean Ramirez (1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, SO) smacked a two-run double to left-center to put the Rays ahead, 2-0.
Rey (2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, SO) pulled the Redlegs back within a run in the bottom of the third. With one out, the 20-year-old clocked a solo home run over the left-centerfield fence - his second of the year - to trim the deficit to 2-1.
It stayed that way until the sixth when Princeton broke the game open with a six-run frame. After a double by RF Jose Torrealba (1-5, R, 2B, 3 SO), Brundage struck out but a wild pitch allowed him to reach and a throwing error allowed the runner to score, extending the Rays advantage to two, 3-1. A fielder's choice from 2B Jake Palomaki (1-4, R, RBI, BB, SO) and a single by Vargas drove in a pair to make it 5-1. LF Pedro Diaz (2-5, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SO) capped off the attack with a bases-clearing, three-run double, giving the visitors an 8-1 edge.
However, the Reds would not go away quietly. In the seventh, walks to C Rob Boselli (1-2, 2 R, 2B, 3 BB, SO), SS Raul Juarez (1-3, R, RBI, BB), and CF Mike Siani (0-4, R, BB) loaded the bases and Rey came through with a two-run knock to right. DH Justin Bellinger (1-5, RBI, 2 SO) then collected an RBI single to center to draw Greeneville within four, 8-4. The Redlegs mustered their final tally in the eighth thanks to a run-scoring single by Juarez.
Greeneville managed to rally in the bottom of the ninth - bringing the tying run to the plate - but they could not complete the comeback, as a strikeout ended the contest.
RHP Edisson Gonzalez (6.0 IP, 4 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) hurled a quality start to earn his first victory in the Appalachian League, while RHP Francisco German (1.0 IP, H, BB, 2 SO) tossed a scoreless ninth to collect his fourth save.
It was a tough-luck loss - his fifth - for LHP Jacob Heatherly (4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO), as the 20-year-old struck out five and yielded two runs for Greeneville.
All those interested in season or group tickets, advertising, and other business inquiries with the Greeneville Reds for the 2019 season are advised to reach out to the team's front office by calling 423-609-7400 or visiting GreenevilleReds.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.