Greeneville, TN – The Greeneville Astros defeated the Princeton Rays (37-31) Tuesday night by a score of 5-0 to win the series and clinch an Appalachian League playoff berth. The victory places the Astros’ final regular season record at one game above .500 (34-33). Salvador Montaño picked up the win for the Astros while Spencer Moran received the loss for the Rays.
Salvador Montaño gave the Astros the start they needed in Tuesday’s do-or-die final game of the season. He pitched five full innings while allowing only three hits and striking out one.
The Astros scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Randy Cesar and Kevin Martir slapped back-to-back singles to start things off. Rodrigo Ayarza then picked up his first of two RBI on the night by sending a groundball into right field and plating Cesar from second.
Montaño kept the Rays’ bats quiet until Albert Abreu came in to take over in the top of the sixth inning. Abreu picked up where Montaño left off and tossed four scoreless innings of three-hit baseball himself while striking out five batters. He increased his strikeout total on the season to 51, placing him in second place on the team behind Yhoan Acosta (56).
The score remained 1-0 until the eighth inning when the Astros started to run away with the game and tacked on four more runs. Daz Cameron, Kyle Tucker, Connor Goedert, Randy Cesar, and Rodrigo Ayarza all picked up hits in the inning while Tucker, Goedert, Cesar, and Ayarza each recorded RBI.
With a 5-0 lead, the Astros kept Albert Abreu on the mound to close things out in the top of the ninth inning. He picked up his first save of the season as the Astros’ defense kept the Rays off the scoreboard and locked up the playoff-clinching victory.
Rodrigo Ayarza led the Astros offensively, going three-for-four at the plate and knocking in two runs. He was assisted by 2015 season MVP Connor Goedert and Randy Cesar who each had two hits and an RBI. Together they scored a combined three runs to power the Astros to victory. Goedert’s double in the eighth inning marked his 20th of the season and placed him in a tie for the team record for most doubles in a single season with Ronald Ramirez (2006) and Jose Altuve (2009).
During a very exciting 2015 season, the Astros broke several team records on the way to the Appalachian League playoffs. Among the club’s season’s best marks are new records for ERA (3.18), total runs allowed (255), earned runs (208), and opponent’s batting average (.236).
The Astros will take on the Kingsport Mets in the first game of round one of the Appalachian League playoffs on Thursday night at Pioneer Park. Game time will be at 7:00 PM. Tickets will be available beginning Wednesday at the Pioneer Park ticket office or online at greenevilleastros.com/tickets.
BY HUNTER REED