Kinston, NC (August, 15 2011) - The Kinston Indians used some of the season’s best pitching to weather a number of early threats from the Nationals and hang on for a 2-0 victory Monday night at Historic Grainger Stadium.
Starting pitcher Mike Rayl set the tone early in what would become a career night for the K-Tribe newcomer. Rayl allowed a one out double while striking out all three batters he faced. After allowing the first two men to reach in the second inning, Rayl retired the next three, two on strikes.
The biggest threat Rayl faced came in the third. Staring down the barrel of a bases loaded, no-out situation, the lefty struck out Brian Peacock. Potomac’s Francisco Soriano tried to test the defense one batter later. Steven Souza lifted a pop foul down the right side that Jeremie Tice caught on the edge of the playing surface. Tice turned to see Soriano tag for home. The Indians part time first baseman put a dart on catcher Roberto Perez to beat Soriano home for out number three.
In the home half of the third, the K-Tribe managed to put the game’s only runs on the scoreboard. With Argenis Martinez having already walked and advanced on a wild pitch, Jordan Casas used Kinston’s first hit of the night to bring Martinez home. Adam Abraham pushed his team leading rbi mark to 60 in bringing home Casas one batter later.
The Kinston pitching staff combined the rest of the way for a season best 18 strikeout performance. Rayl picked up his first Carolina League victory, going to 1-1 in his fourth start at the “Advanced-A” level. Kinston’s starter did not yield a run over five innings of work. Rayl matched a career high with 11 strikeouts while walking two. Toru Murata took Kinston in to the eighth, striking out five over two and two thirds innings. All Star closer Preston Guilmet punched Kinston over the hump while picking up a four out save. Guilmet locked down his 31st save of the season, striking out two and giving up one hit in doing so.
The previous season high for strikeouts was 16, set on May 31st against Wilmington. Rayl matched Marty Popham’s July 17th 11 strikeout night as Kinston’s best individual performance of the year. On May 4th, Rayl struck out 11 while pitching for the Low-A Lake County Captains.
Game two in Kinston’s current three game homestand begins at 6:30 pm Tuesday night at Historic Grainger Stadium. Clayton Cook will try for his team leading ninth win of the season.