NEWARK – Kelvin Villa pitched six solid innings, allowing just one earned run while striking out seven to earn his first victory and newly signed Pablo Ozuna had a successful debut, collecting three hits and three RBI, leading the Newark Bears to a 7-3 victory over the Long Island Ducks Thursday night at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.
Villa (1-3) continued his fine pitching since signing with the Bears two weeks ago. The left-hander has struck out at least seven batters in all four of his starts with Newark. He has now struck out 35 batters in just 21 innings with the Bears.
Ozuna, signed earlier in the day, is a former major leaguer who played for the Marlins, Rockies and White Sox during his career, had a single in his first at-bat with the Bears, then had an RBI single in the second to give the Bears the lead for good. Ozuna also delivered the key hit in the Bears’ two-run rally in the seventh, a bases-loaded single that plated two runs, increasing the lead to 7-2.
Long Island scored an unearned run against Villa in the top of the second. Robinson Cancel singled, stole second and came around to score on a throwing error, giving the Ducks a 1-0 lead. Kennard Jones, who was one of three Newark representatives in last Tuesday’s All-Star game, belted a two-run homer to cap a four-run second inning against Ducks starter and loser Rick Bauer (3-9). In that rally, James Cooper was hit by a pitch and Todd Jennings walked, one of the four walks that Jennings drew in the game. Gabe Suarez drove in the first run with an infield groundout and Ozuna followed with his first run-scoring hit to push the lead to 2-0. Jones then followed with his homer to left, his third of the season.
The Bears then increased the lead to 5-1 in the fifth inning when Jennings drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Brian Barton, who led off the inning with a double. The Ducks then scored a run in the sixth inning on Matt Esquivel’s sacrifice fly, scoring Ray Navarrete, who earlier singled.
After Villa left, the Bears received solid relief pitching from Vince Perkins, Greg Reinhard and Michael Nix, who each tossed an inning to preserve the win.
The Ducks scored a run in the ninth on an RBI single by Erick Monzon, his third hit of the game. Monzon’s single scored Matt Cavagnaro, who doubled.
The series rolls on between Newark and Long Island on Friday night. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m., with the gates of Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium opening at 6:05 p.m. The Bears are hosting Ticket Amnesty Night, which means that all unused tickets can be exchanged for premium box seat tickets as they battle the Ducks. Any ticket will be accepted, from Devils to Nets, Yankees to Mets and even old Bears tickets from this season or seasons past.
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