Rocks Wrap up First Half with Dramatic Win in Extras
Lynchburg, VA - The Wilmington Blue Rocks capped off their first half with a wild 6-5 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats in 10 innings on Sunday. The Blue Crew let a three-run lead slip away in the ninth, but rallied for their 25th one-run victory of the season.
Josh Mitchell could not hold a 5-2 lead in the ninth for Wilmington. Gavin Collins cut into the advantage with a two-run double to left and then Trenton Brooks drew the home team even with a sacrifice fly to center.
The Rocks went back in front in the top half of the 10th. They started the inning with a man at second thanks to MiLB rules. Then quickly added a Jose Marquez single to put runners at the corners. One out later Yapson Gomez balked in the winning run.
Josh Dye got out of a first-and-third jam with no outs in the bottom of the final frame, thanks to an around-the-horn double play and a Wilbis Santiago ground out. The effort got Dye his first save as a Blue Rock.
Most of the early offense for the Blue Crew came courtesy of Colby Schultz. The shortstop managed a double, a homer and drove in four. His two-run blast gave Wilmington the lead before Lynchburg registered an out in the first. Then his two-run double in the sixth put the Rocks back in front. Nick Pratto added what turned out to be a pivotal insurance run with his single in the ninth.
Wilmington begins the second half with a four-game homestand at Frawley Stadium. Tickets are available online at BlueRocks.com and fans who can't make it to the ballpark can catch all the action with the Voice of the Blue Rocks, Cory Nidoh, on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
Wilmington won on Sunday for the 21st time this season when its opponent had more hits.
The Rocks finished the first half with a power surge, hitting four home runs over their final three games. Wilmington has done most of its homer damage on the road this season, hitting 23 of its 27 long balls this season outside of the First State. Nick Pratto hit a solo dinger in the eighth inning on Friday, and Blake Perkins took the second pitch of the night out of the park on Saturday. Perkins' shot was Wilmington's first lead-off homer this season and the first by a Blue Rock since July 10, 2018 when Nick Heath took Major League rehabber Chris Tillman deep in Frederick. Brewer Hicklen added Wilmington's second grand slam of the season later in Saturday's victory. Schultz hit another first-inning dinger in the series finale on Sunday. The Blue Crew are 14-5 this season in games where they leave the yard.
The Blue Crew improved to 19 games above .500 with their win on Sunday. An incredible 25 of those victories came in contests decided by a single score. Wilmington clinched its first postseason berth since 2015. That year Wilmington won the first half with a 38-32 record. The Rocks finished this first half with 44 victories. The 2015 Blue Crew eventually reached the Mills Cup Championship Series by sweeping Lynchburg in the Northern Division Championship Series. Wilmington is in search of its first Carolina League crown since 1999.
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