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Rays down on the farm September 6: Princeton advances to Appy League final

The Princeton Rays will take on the Greeneville Astros in a three-game series

Spencer Moran is my probable starter for Game 1 Sunday
Spencer Moran is my probable starter for Game 1 Sunday
Jim Donten

Greeneville has one of the top pitching staffs in the Appalachian League and a couple top prospects in the outfield with Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (73-69)

Steven Souza picked up a pair of hits in Durham's 2-0 win over Norfolk. His one-out single in the first started a two-run rally, and he singled again an inning later before striking out in his last two at-bats. Meanwhile, Bradin Hagens wrapped up his season with a fine start, scattering just four hits over seven scoreless innings with a strikeout and no walks.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (42-26)

Montgomery's offense took the night off in its 4-0 loss to Birmingham. Both Biscuits hits were singles, and the Barons scored three in the second inning to go ahead early. Austin Pruitt struck out eight but allowed all four runs on four hits and three walks in six innings.

Class A-Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (23-41)

Charlotte was postponed, or perhaps canceled. I am not entirely sure.

Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods (31-35)

Bowling Green took an 11th-inning lead before falling to Fort Wayne by a 4-3 score. Thomas Milone and Grant Kay singled to start the inning, and a bunt moved them into scoring position. After an intentional walk to Hunter Lockwood, Nick Ciuffo's sacrifice fly scored Milone, but the Hot Rods would regret only scoring once. Edwin Fierro came on for the save and allowed three straight singles to tie the game, and the winning run scored on a Ciuffo throwing error. Starter Hyrum Formo allowed a run in six innings with six strikeouts.

Short-Season Hudson Valley Renegades (38-36)

Hudson Valley's playoff hopes took a big hit with a 14-5 drubbing at the hands of Aberdeen. Now 1 1/2 games behind Staten Island and also looking up at the IronBirds, the Renegades' elimination number is down to two. Aberdeen needed just four innings to take a 13-0 lead that saw starter Michael Velasquez allowing three runs in two innings and the bullpen doing just as poorly. Manny Sanchez's fifth home run of the season in the ninth was too little, too late.

Rookie Princeton Rays (2-1)

Princeton advanced to the Appy League championship with a 7-1 win over Pulaski in the decisive Game 3. As early as the second inning, the result was not in doubt. Brett Sullivan led off the second with a home run, and a David Rodriguez single and Kewby Meyer double put two in scoring position, still with no outs. Pulaski conceded a run on a groundout before Angel Perez doubled home another, and Peter Maris capped the scoring with a two-run homer.

Meanwhile, Alexis Tapia was pitching well. He faced the minimum through three innings and finished with just a run allowed on five hits and a walk in six innings with six strikeouts. Armando Bastardo relieved Tapia and retired the last eight of the game to advance Princeton.

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Notable performances

A- 1B Hec Montes: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
A- OF Manny Sanchez: 2-for-5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
R+ SS Peter Maris: 4-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI
AAA RHP Bradin Hagens: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K
AA RHP Matt Lollis: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K
A RHP Hyrum Formo: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
R+ RHP Alexis Tapia: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
R+ RHP Armando Bastardo: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K

AA 3B Patrick Leonard: 0-for-4, 2 K
A IF Carter Burgess: 0-for-4, 2 K
A- IF Joseph Astacio: 0-for-5, 2 K
A RHP Edwin Fierro: 0 outs recorded, 3 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 0 K
A- LHP Michael Velasquez: 2 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
A- RHP Tomas Michelson: 1 IP, 2 H, 6 R (2 ER), 2 BB, 2 K
A- RHP Sam Triece: 1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Today's games (probables courtesy of milb.com)

Durham v. Norfolk 5:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Scott Diamond (11-5, 3.62) v. Tyler Wilson (5-5, 3.05)

Montgomery v. Birmingham 6:35 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Taylor Guerrieri (3-1, 1.64) v. TBA

Charlotte @ Fort Myers 11:05 AM (radio stream)
TBA v. Luke Westphal (5-5, 2.82)

Bowling Green @ Fort Wayne 7:05 PM (radio stream)
Yonny Chirinos (3-5, 2.15) v. TBA

Hudson Valley v. Aberdeen 5:05 PM (radio stream)
Benton Moss (2-2, 2.55) v. TBA

Princeton @ Greeneville 7 PM (radio stream)
Spencer Moran* (3-1, 3.12) v. Salvador Montano* (2-3, 5.20)

Game one of a best-of-three championship (Series tied, 0-0)

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Norfolk Tides (Baltimore) (updated through 9/3)
73-69 (1st in IL South)
Offense: 521 R (11th) .671 OPS (11th)
Pitching: 3.17 ERA (2nd) 1.25 WHIP (1st)
Top 30 Prospects: 1B Christian Walker (3), RHP Mike Wright (8), RHP Tyler Wilson (12), OF Henry Urrutia (14)

Birmingham Barons (White Sox) (updated through 9/1)
35-33
Offense: 540 R (4th) .701 OPS (4th)
Pitching: 3.67 ERA (4th) 1.35 WHIP (4th)
Top 30 Prospects: SS Tim Anderson (2), RHP Tyler Danish (7), OF Courtney Hawkins (9), OF Jacob May (10)

Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota) (updated through 9/1)
38-30
Offense: 483 R (8th) .635 OPS (9th)
Pitching: 2.70 ERA (2nd) 1.20 WHIP (5th)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Kohl Stewart (4), LHP Stephen Gonsalves (14), SS Engelb Vielma (22), RHP Zach Jones (25), LHP Tyler Jay

Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego) (updated through 9/3)
44-24 (1st in MWL East)
Offense: 542 R (10th) .680 OPS (8th)
Pitching: 3.39 ERA (6th) 1.29 WHIP (6th)
Top 30 Prospects: OF Michael Gettys (13), SS Franchy Cordero (19)

Aberdeen IronBirds (Baltimore) (updated through 9/3)
39-35 (2nd in McNamara)
Offense: 262 R (13th) .625 OPS (13th)
Pitching: 3.60 ERA (9th) 1.26 WHIP (5th)
Top 30 Prospects: LHP Travis Seabrooke (31), OF D.J. Stewart

Greeneville Astros
2-1
Offense: 308 R (6th) .684 OPS (9th)
Pitching: 3.18 ERA (2nd) 1.23 WHIP (1st)
Top 30 Prospects: OF Kyle Tucker, OF Daz Cameron