BRISTOL, Va. – Will Guay’s finest pitching performance at Concord University this past spring came against the University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
A seminal moment in his professional career occurred Thursday night and it also came against a team located in Southwest Virginia.
Guay picked up his pro victory as the Johnson City Cardinals collected a 4-2 Appalachian League triumph over the Bristol Pirates at DeVault Stadium.
Guay allowed a two-out RBI double to Francisco Acuna in the bottom of the fifth inning that pulled Bristol (11-11) even with the Cardinals at two runs apiece.
That deadlock was short-lived, however, as Johnson City’s Chandler Redmond blasted C.J. Dandeneau’s first pitch in the top of the sixth inning over the fence in right-field to give the Cardinals (13-8) a lead they never relinquished.
Guay’s inning of work included one run, one hit, a hit batter and one strikeout as his name was featured beside the W in the boxscore.
"It was good, it was cool," Guay said. "I would have liked to have gone 1-2-3, but that’s all right. The team got a win and we came through when we needed to."
Guay was 6-4 with a 3.07 ERA during his senior season at Concord – located in Athens, West Virginia – and that included striking out 11 in spinning seven shutout innings against UVa-Wise on May 3.
A 24th-round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals in last month’s Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, the Florida native got the save in his professional debut on June 23 in Danville.
Guay has a 7.56 ERA in four outings for the Cardinals as the 6-foot-3, 216-pound right-hander makes the tough transition from the NCAA Division II Mountain East Conference to the rookie-level Appalachian League.
"You can’t miss, really," Guay said. "If you miss with a pitch, it’s going to get hit a lot harder than it did in college."
Speaking of hard hitters, Redmond’s blast off Dandeneau (1-1, 2.08 ERA) was his fifth homer of the season and brought his RBI tally to 19.
"He can swing it for sure," Guay said. "It’s going to be sad to see him go, because he’s probably going to be moved up soon if he keeps hitting like that."
Bristol didn’t hit the ball when it mattered on Thursday in losing its third straight contest. The Pirates stranded 10 baserunners and were just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Bristol has managed only five total runs in the last three games.
"We were in need of a big inning this game and last game as well," said Bristol outfielder Jake Wright. "You have to have a good inning where you score three or more runs. Usually when you win the big-inning war, you win baseball games."
Wright’s first-inning RBI single gave Bristol a 1-0 lead and the former Coastal Carolina University standout has hit safely in his first four professional games with the Pirates.
"It’s been amazing so far," Wright said. "Everybody’s welcomed me with open arms. I love it here and I love the coaching staff. I’m feeling comfortable at the plate and in the field as well."
Bristol trails first-place Johnson City by 2 ½ games in the Appy League’s West Division standings, while Elizabethton (12-10) sits in second place.
The Cardinals can go for the sweep when they host Bristol today, a vital game for both clubs.
"These last two games were big," Guay said. "We’ve got to get another win [Friday]."
NOTES: Matt Morrow and Francisco Acuna each had two hits for the BriBucs. … Bristol is 4-9 at DeVault Stadium this year, while the Pirates have a 7-2 road record. … A season-low crowd of 315 attended the game. … One of Will Guay’s teammates at Concord during the 2019 season was former Tazewell High School standout Sidney Willis. Willis was 2-3 with a 6.57 ERA in pitching in 21 games as a freshman for the Mountain Lions. "He’s a good kid," Guay said. "He’s got a lot of potential – a big lefty." … Pete Orr of the Milwaukee Brewers was one of the many professional scouts in attendance. He was a utility man who played in 689 career big-league games with Atlanta, Washington and Philadelphia from 2005-2013. … Bristol’s game against the Cardinals begins at 6:30 p.m. today. It will be the final home game for the Pirates until July 20.
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