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 Wilmington Blue Rocks

Getting Back on Track

May 21, 2024 - South Atlantic League (SAL)
Wilmington Blue Rocks News Release

The Wilmington Blue Rocks sat at the top of the South Atlantic League North for the first few weeks of the season. The team's fall from grace came quickly after getting swept in their recent six-game road trip against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws.

Back in Wilmington last week to host the Aberdeen IronBirds, the Blue Rocks took full advantage of their vitality at Frawley Stadium. They won the series 4-2, and now hold the fourth spot in the SAL North with a .514 winning percentage.

Game 1

The series kicked off Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium, but not without a hitch. Rain, heavy at times, draped over Wilmington and forced the game to begin over an hour later than its intended start. Once the game did get moving, it took the 'Rocks a few innings to adjust.

Aberdeen led the entire game, starting with a run in the second inning. Meanwhile, Wilmington didn't get on the board until Maxwell Romero Jr's solo home run in the fifth. Six of nine batters recorded hits for the Blue Rocks Tuesday night, but they weren't able to capitalize on most of them. Aberdeen took Game 1 with a final score of 6-2, and Luke Young, who got the nod for the series opener, picked up his second loss of the season.

Games 2 and 3

Game 2, originally scheduled as a Wednesday matinee, became the first of two games on Thursday. Despite the literally and figuratively dreary start to the homestand, the double-header marked a major turning point for the Blue Rocks.

Riley Cornelio had the first start and went six of seven innings. He struck out six batters and allowed the IronBirds' only two runs in the game before Marquis Grissom Jr closed out the 3-2 win. Wander Arias dominated through the first five innings of Game 3. He struck out five and allowed zero hits, zero runs, and only one walked batter. Chance Huff and Brendan Collins each threw two innings and kept the IronBirds off the board, securing the 3-0 win.

The Blue Rocks' offense gained a lot of momentum in both games Thursday evening, recording six hits and three runs in each seven-inning contest. Kevin Made continued to be one of the team's most productive batters with a two-run RBI single in Game 2 and two hits in Game 3. Phillip Glasser also stood out in the doubleheader. He went 4-for-7 at the plate and was the scoring runner for half of the Blue Rocks' runs (three of six total).

Game 4

Over five thousand fans packed Frawley Stadium for the cloudy, Friday night game and postgame fireworks. Bryan Caceres took the mound as Wilmington's starter and struggled early, allowing three runs in the first inning. However, he managed to collect his composure, striking out six and leaving Aberdeen scoreless from the second to fifth innings. After getting in a jam in the sixth, Miguel Gomez and Jaren Zinn finished off the final three innings for a combined two hits and zero runs allowed.

Down 3-0 after the first inning, the Blue Rocks had some catching up to do, and the steadiness of Wilmington's joined pitching effort allowed them to do just that. Daylen Lile and Trey Harris each had two RBIs, while Maxwell Romero Jr and TJ White each had one. In another six-hit game, the Blue Rocks came out on top of this one 6-4, expanding their winning streak to three.

Game 5

Saturday night's extra-inning stunner was undeniably the most intense of the series. Nearly four thousand attendees watched the Blue Rocks come back from an early 2-0 deficit and win in walk-off fashion in the tenth inning.

Jose Atencio made his High-A debut for Wilmington after coming to the team from Fredericksburg earlier in the week. Similar to Caceres in Game 4, Atencio struggled to start, but eventually gained control and gave the Blue Rocks a solid five innings. Viandel Pena, Daylen Lile, and Trey Harris were big bats Saturday night. However, Branden Boissiere stole the show with his first walk-off of the season, giving the Blue Rocks a 4-3 victory.

Game 6

The home team hosted Aberdeen one last time this series as Rocas Azules de Wilmington, their Copa De La Diversión alter-ego for Sunday home games. Although overcast, the warm weather and pre and postgame activities for kids garnered over 2,600 fans to Frawley Stadium.

Unfortunately, unlike the many nights before, the crowd saw the Blue Rocks fall to the IronBirds, snapping their hard-earned, four-game winning streak. Luke Young took the mound for his second start of the series and allowed three runs in four innings. Nick Pogue relieved him to start the fifth and allowed two runs through two innings, and Carlos Romero and Brendan Collins held Aberdeen scoreless in the final three innings.

Wilmington's offense also struggled in the Sunday matinee. The Blue Rocks put up two runs in the outing, one from an RBI-single from Viandel Pena and the other from a balk. With only three hits and inconsistencies on defense, Wilmington lost Game 6 5-2.

Looking ahead, the Blue Rocks are headed on a two week roadtrip. First, they fly to Georgia to take on the Atlanta Braves affiliate Rome Emperors. After six games there, they'll end May and begin June in Kentucky for a series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the High-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

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South Atlantic League Stories from May 21, 2024

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