Bristol Pirates starter Jose Maldonado fired five shutout innings on Saturday night to lead the Pirates in a 7-2 series-finale victory over the Princeton Rays.With the Elizabethton Twins loss to the Danville Braves on Saturday, the Pirates now sit in sole possession of second place in the Appalachian League West
Bristol Pirates starter Jose Maldonado fired five shutout innings on Saturday night to lead the Pirates in a 7-2 series-finale victory over the Princeton Rays.
With the Elizabethton Twins loss to the Danville Braves on Saturday, the Pirates now sit in sole possession of second place in the Appalachian League West Division and are one game behind the Johnson City Cardinals.
Shortstop Francisco Acuna plated the first run of the night for Bristol on a one-out single in the second inning to score third baseman Aaron Shackelford and make it a 1-0 game. Two innings later, Acuna struck again with a two-run single to push the Pirates' lead to three, and an RBI groundout by Shackelford would make it a 4-0 game after five innings. Catcher Eli Wilson and right fielder Yoyner Fajardo added RBI hits in the sixth to make it a 6-0 game before a two-out single by the Rays would break up the shutout and cut Bristol's lead to five. The Rays added another run in the eighth inning before second baseman Josh Bissonette capped off the night's scoring with a sacrifice fly to drive in designated hitter Jesus Valdez. After stranding two runners in the eighth inning, Yordi Rosario tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record his first career save.
Maldonado improved to 4-5 on the year after allowing three hits and two walks with three strikeouts over five innings. C.J. Dandeneau allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in two innings of relief, while Rosario allowed just one hit while striking out two over two scoreless innings to close out the game.
Eight of the Pirates' nine starters had a hit in the win, as Acuna led the Pirates with a career-high four hits and a game-high three RBI against Princeton. Fajardo finished second on the team with a 3-for-5 performance, and he is now hitting 11-for-18 over his last four games. Valdez and first baseman Matt Morrow both finished with two hits, while left fielder Jake Snider went 1-for-5 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
The Pirates (28-28) will try for a winning record for the first time since July 12 on Sunday night when they open up a three-game road series with the Bluefield Blue Jays. Dante Mendoza will take the mound in a rematch against Bluefield after allowing two runs over 4 2/3 innings with four strikeouts against the Blue Jays in his last start.