Twins, Rays split pair

By Tim Chambers

   Baseball fans at Joe O'Brien Field got a little bit of everything Saturday night. While good pitching and defense dominated the first game, the second game featured some offensive fireworks from both teams.
   Elizabethton squeaked out a 1-0 win in the first contest but dropped the second game 10-8.
   In the second contest the Devil Rays looked to earn their first win of the season at the expense of the Twins, jumping on top 2-0 after their first at bats.
   Josh Touchstone walked to open the inning and later scored on an RBI single from Jake Ritchie. A sacrifice fly from Logan Weins plated the second run of the inning.
   The Devil Rays looked to deliver a knockout punch in the second inning, scoring six runs on six hits. A triple from Christian Lopez, along with a double by Logan Weims helped the cause. Four singles mixed in with an error and two balks pushed the lead at 8-0.
   The Twins answered with a run in the second when Jay Yaconetti walked to open the inning and advanced to third on a double by Javier Lopez, who was thrown out on a base-running blunder.
   Tim Lahey ripped a single, scoring Yaconetti, to break the ice for Elizabethton.
   Elizabethton cut the lead in half in the third inning when Trevor Plouffe and Deacon Burns stroked back-to-back singles. A fielder's choice by Yaconetti resulted in a two-base error, scoring both runners to close the gap to 8-3. Another double by Lopez edged the Twins closer at 8-4.
   Princeton added a solo run in the fourth inning, upping the margin at 9-4, but the die-hard men of Elizabethton refused to quit. Tarrence Patterson singled to start the inning, and Plouffe followed with a monster home run over the left-center field wall to pull the Twins closer at 9-6.
   Elizabethton tacked on two more when Burns walked and advanced to third on a double by Yaconetti. Lopez then hit a ball to center that was misplayed for an error, helping the Twins pull within one at 9-8.
   Princeton then summoned Jarrett Sues from the bullpen, and Sues retired Layhe on a strikeout to end the inning. The Twins went in order in the ninth after Princeton used a solo home run from Lopez to spoil any more comeback hopes the Twins might have and earn its first win of the season.
   Plouffe was the offensive star for Elizabethton, going 3 for 4 including the big 'tater that resulted in three RBIs. Burns had a nice game, batting 2 for 3 with three RBIs while Lopez and Lahey chipped in with two hits each.
   Elizabethton used a tremendous pitching performance from David Shinskie to win the first contest. Princeton mustered only three hits off Elizabethton while the Twins took advantage of five hits to earn the hard -ought victory.
   The Twins scored in the first when Burns singled up the gut and advanced to second on a base hit from Jeremy Pickrel. Javier Sanchez launched a single to right, scoring Burns for the game's only run.
   Pickrel went 2 for 3 to lead Elizabethton while Burns, Sanchez and Parrick Ortiz had the only other hits for the Twins.
   Shinskie pitched five innings, allowing three hits and no runs before giving way to Jeff Mousser, who pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Jason Bowlin came on in the seventh to earn his first save of the season.
   "I was glad to see us hitting the ball better in the second game," started Twins skipper Ray Smith. "We got some good pitching in the first contest along with some outstanding defense. In the second game we made a good run after being down 8-0."
   "The fans got a great variety of good pitching, defense and offense in the two games here tonight."
   Elizabethton will play host to Princeton tonight at Joe O'Brien Field. Gametime is 7 p.m. Everyone who brings a church bulletin to tonight's game will be admitted free.