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Game Recap: A five-run 8th inning helps Wilmington Blue Rocks to win 9-3
In the series opener for their six-game series against the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Wilmington Blue Rocks put on a show with the bats and on the mound to take game one by a final score of 9-3.
Although the Blue Rocks ultimately won this game, it did not come easy. In the top of the first inning, the Cyclones immediately got runners on first and third with one out following singles by Matt O’Neill and Alex Rameriez. Blue Rocks starter Mitchell Parker was able to escape the jam, forcing a strikeout and a groundout to respond to the back-to-back singles by Brooklyn.
The Blue Rocks turned around and were damaged in their half of the first inning. Following a leadoff walk by Ricardo Mendez, Jose Sanchez drove him in immediately with an RBI double that was blasted to deep left field. Two batters later, Drew Millas drove him in with another RBI double roped into the right-centerfield gap. This made it 2-0 Blue Rocks after one inning of play.
The second inning yielded a very similar result for Mitchell Parker. After three straight singles by the Cyclones to load up the bases, Parker escaped the jam yet again, forcing two straight pop-ups in the infield, keeping the score 2-0 in favor of Wilmington.
Just like the first inning, the Blue Rocks were able to strike on offense after Parker escaped a jam on the mound. Jose Sanchez grounded a ball to shortstop Shervyen Newton, and he couldn’t handle the throw, sailing it over the head of first baseman Joe Suozzi to score Leandro Emiliani and make the score 3-0.
The Blue Rocks struck again in the bottom of the fourth. It all started when Junior Martina popped a high fly ball to deep center field that was mishandled by Ramirez of the Cyclones, bringing Martina to third base on the play. Cole Daily cashed in with a runner in scoring position, getting enough of a fly ball to allow Martina to tag up and score from third to extend the lead to 4-0.
Brooklyn got on the board and avoided the shutout in the top of the sixth inning when Jose Mena lashed a single into left field to score Stanely Consuegra and cut their deficit down to 4-1.
Unfortunately for the Blue Rocks, that would not be all that was in store for the Cyclones’ offense.
At the top of the eighth, Brooklyn put together a rally. It began with William Lugo blasting a double to center field to score Jose Peroza and add to the score 4-2. Then, Jose Mena struck again, singling to right field to score Lugo and make it 4-3.
In the next at-bat, Suozzi, the go-ahead run, would walk, putting runners on first and second with one out. After Newton struck out swinging, Martina made an excellent diving catch at second to rob Matt Rudick of a hit and keep the Blue Rocks in the driver's seat.
In the bottom half of the inning, Wilmington made sure that things would remain that way when they returned to the field in the top of the ninth. The Blue Rocks scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to Emiliani, Martina, Daily, and Ricardo Mendez's RBIs, blowing the game wide open and making it 9-3. Jose A. Ferrer shut the door in the ninth to secure the win.
Parker earned the win for the Blue Rocks, pitching 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits, one run, and one walk while striking out five. Cyclones starter Oscar Rojas was handed the loss, making it only 1.2 innings, allowing four hits, three runs, and one walk.
With a strong start to the series, the Blue Rocks will be looking to keep the momentum rolling in game two on Wednesday, August 10.