The Game: The Princeton Rays fell to the Burlington Royals 5-3 on Saturday at Burlington Athletic Park. Burlington took an early lead by posting three runs in the first inning. Jovan Pickett led off the game with a single. Luis Del Rosario singled to left to put two on the base path. Jacob Kuebler followed with an RBI double to score Pickett. Geulin Beltre then reached on a fielder’s choice with Del Rosario being ruled out at the plate. Benjamin Tschepikow then drove home two runs with a hit to center that was misplayed by Brian Bryles and the Royals took a 3-0 lead.
Burlington added to their lead in the second. Malcom Culver led off the game with a walk, then advanced to second on a throwing error by Wilking Rodriguez on a pickoff attempt. Yowill Espinal singled to left to score Culver. Then Espinal advanced to third on single by Luis Del Rosario. The Royals then pulled a double steal, Del Rosario stealing second and Espinal stealing home, giving them a 5-0 lead.
Princeton rallied in the top of the seventh. Cody Rogers and Ryan Wiegand got things started with back to back walks. They later advanced on a wild pitch. Jason Patton followed with an RBI single to score Rogers. Patton then stole second to give the Rays two runners in scoring position. Kyle Spraker drove home the second run of the inning with a ground ball to short that score Wiegand. Tomas Francisco hit an double to left to score Patton and pull the Rays to within two. But it wasn’t enough and Burlington held on to win 5-3.
Wilking Rodriguez was charged with the loss, pitching 2 innings and allowing 5 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits while striking out 1 and walking 1. Tyler Oaks followed, pitching 5 shutout innings and allowing 1 hit while striking out 4 and walking 1. Jair De La Rosa pitched the last innings, allowing no hits and striking out 1. Greg Billo was the winner for Burlington.
What Went Right: Jairo De La Rosa; no hit inning in relief, lowering his ERA to 0.54 on the season.
What Went Wrong: Wilking Rodriguez; tagged for 5 runs (3 earned) in only 2 innings.
A Look Ahead: The Rays complete the series against the Royals on Sunday evening at Burlington Athletic Park.