Rocks Let Four-Run Lead Slip Away
Winston-Salem, NC - A five-run seventh inning for the Winston-Salem Dash doomed the Blue Rocks on Monday as Wilmington dropped a 9-8 heartbreaker at BB&T Ballpark. Seuly Matias and Kyle Isbel each homered in the losing cause for the Blue Crew. It was only Wilmington's second loss in the last 10 games and its first of the year to Winston-Salem.
The decisive frame came against Wilmington relievers Robert Garcia and Tyler Zuber. Luis Roberts got things started for the Dash when he drew a one-out walk off of Garcia. Nick Madrigal then legged out an infield single and Tyler Frost was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Zach Remillard brought the Dash to within two runs when he plated a pair with a hit to right-center. Wilmington moved to the precipice of getting out of the frame, however, when Remillard was thrown out trying to stretch his knock to a double.
Criag Dedelow reignited the rally with a walk and the Rocks inserted Zuber (0-1). Jordan George greeted the closer with a game-tying to double to left and then Carlos Perez lined a single to center that put Winston-Salem ahead to stay.
Wilmington got the potential tying-run into scoring position in the ninth, but Luis Ledo got Nick Pratto to ground out, finishing off his first save of the year.
Matias opened the scoring for the Rocks with a homer in the first inning. Isbel got his second home run of the year with a solo shot in the third.
Wilmington trailed 4-1 after two, but rallied back to take a four-run lead thanks to three scores in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Isbel was in the thick of the comeback with three hits, two RBI and three runs scored. Matias also drove in a pair as did catcher Sebastian Rivero, while Cristian Perez added two hits and scored twice.
Blue Crew starter Daniel Lynch allowed four runs in the second inning, but bounced back to retire 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. The top-five prospect in the Kansas City system departed the game in line for the win before the bullpen unraveled in the seventh.
Wilmington continues its first road trip of the season on Tuesday at Winston-Salem. Right-hander Brady Singer (0-1, 1.86) takes the mound for the Rocks. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. and fans can catch all the action with the Voice of the Blue Rocks Cory Nidoh on 89.7 WGLS-FM or BlueRocks.com.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
Prior to the eighth inning on Thursday Wilmington had hit just one home run total in the first 67 frames of the season. The Rocks hit two long balls that inning and have hit eight total over the next 34 trips to the plate. Seuly Matias has homered in three straight games. On Sunday at Carolina the outfielder also became the first Rock to hit two in the same game since Chase Vallot did it on May 2, 2018. Wilmington went from last in the 10-team Carolina League to tied for second in the loop in homers. Seven of the Blue Crew's nine dingers this season have been solo shots--including both on Monday night.
Wilmington may call the Carolina League's Northern Division home, but in the early part of the season the Blue Crew will be much more familiar with the CL South. The Rocks are in the midst of 17 consecutive games against southern division foes. Wilmington swept a three-game series at home against the Dash and then took three of four at Carolina. The Rocks are in the midst of a three-game set at Winston-Salem and then play a four-game series at home against the Down East Wood Ducks before welcoming the Dash back to Frawley Stadium for three more. The Rocks are currently 6-2 during this long stretch of southern hospitality.
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