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    • April 15, 2014 12:41 AM EDT
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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

       

      Stumpf's Gem Spoiled As Dash Hand Blue Rocks Their First Shutout Loss Of The Season

      Lefty Allowed One Run And Struck Out Five Over 5.2 Innings

       

      Wilmington, DE -
      After the Wilmington Blue Rocks shut out the Winston Salem Dash in two 
      consecutive games, the Dash returned the favor Saturday by blanking the 
      Rocks 1-0 in a closely contested ballgame. Daniel Stumpf turned 
      in the third straight stellar outing by a Wilmington starting pitcher 
      Saturday. He pitched 5.2 innings, struck out five and allowed just one 
      run on six hits. With the loss, the Blue Crew falls back to two games 
      below the .500 mark.

       

      Like Christian Binford
      the night before, Stumpf worked quickly on the mound and was able to 
      establish a rhythm early in the ballgame. The first ? and only ? run he 
      allowed Saturday came on a two-out RBI double in the third inning by 
      Dash shortstop Tim Anderson. The two-bagger plated third baseman Nick 
      Basto, who had singled to lead off the frame and advanced to second on a
      wild pitch by Stumpf. Basto's run snapped a string of 21.2 scoreless 
      innings by Blue Rocks pitching.

       

      Wilmington
      had two scoring chances off of Winston-Salem starter Mike Recchia and 
      failed to convert either of them. In the bottom of the third inning, Beau Maggi drew a one-out walk in his first plate appearance since being activated off of the disabled list earlier in the week. After Kenny Diekroeger flew out to right for the second out, Raul A. Mondesi pulled a double into the right field corner. Manager Darryl Kennedy gave
      Maggi the green light to try and score from first, but a perfect relay 
      throw to the plate gunned down Maggi to retire the side and keep the 
      Rocks off the board.

       

      In the sixth inning, a Diekroeger single and walks to Mondesi and Hunter Dozier loaded the bases with two outs forJohermyn Chavez.
      Dash manager Tommy Thompson elected to remove Recchia from the game for
      reliever Euclides Leyer. Chavez then hit a slow chopper up the third 
      base line and was thrown out on a fantastic defensive play by Basto to 
      retire the side. Basto bare-handed the ball and then fired an 
      off-balance strike to first to get Chavez.

      Stumpf
      (0-2, 3.52) took the tough-luck loss Sunday while Mike Recchia (1-1, 
      6.48), who pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and struck out seven, picked up
      his first win of the season for the Dash. Jarrett Casey recorded the 
      final two outs of the game for Winston-Salem to notch his second save of
      the season.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Monday night as they wrap up a four-game series against the Winston-Salem Dash. Southpaw Sean Manaea (0-1,
      8.10) will make his second start of the season for Wilmington, while 
      right-hander J.B. Wendelkin (1-1, 3.27) will take the bump for the Dash.
      First pitch for the series finale is slated for 6:35 p.m., and fans can
      listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 
      302-888-BLUE.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      Cody Stubbs saw
      his six-game hitting streak come to an end Sunday with an 0-for-4 
      performance at the plate. Stubbs has quietly established himself as one 
      of Wilmington's most consistent and productive hitters. Sunday's loss 
      was the first time this season that Stubbs appeared in a game but failed
      to record a base hit. With the 0-for-4 day, Stubbs' batting average 
      fell from .364 to .308. However, his six-game hitting streak remains a 
      Blue Rocks season high. Mondesi returned to the Wilmington lineup Sunday
      and lashed a double into the right field corner in the third inning to 
      extend his own hitting streak to five games. He had missed the previous 
      two ballgames after getting hit by a pitch on Thursday.

       

      As
      a team, the Blue Rocks have stolen 14 bases this season, which puts 
      them atop the Carolina League in the stolen base department. The Potomac
      Nationals currently sit in second place with 12 steals as a team. What 
      really stands out, though, is that not a single Wilmington base stealer 
      has been thrown out; the Blue Crew is a perfect 14-for-14 on the 
      basepaths. Terrance Gore currently leads the Rocks in stolen bases with four. Jack Lopez, Diekroeger and Mondesi
      are tied for second on the team with three steals apiece. After swiping
      a bag Sunday, Diekroeger has now stolen a base in three consecutive 
      games. The final Wilmington steal belongs to Tyler Chism, who is currently on the disabled list.

       

      Blue Rocks starting pitching has been stellar during the first three games of this weekend's series against Winston-Salem.Jonathan Dziedzic opened
      up the four-game set by tossing six shutout innings on Friday and 
      striking out eight.  Saturday, Binford topped Dziedzic's totals in 
      innings and in strikeouts when he threw seven shutout innings and struck
      out ten. Though Stumpf did not manage to keep Winston-Salem off the 
      board Sunday, his 5.2 innings pitched, five strikeouts and one run 
      allowed continued the trend of great Blue Rocks starting pitching. 
      Dziedzic, Binford and Stumpf posted a combined 0.49 ERA and walked just 
      two over the 18.2 innings they spent on the mound during the past three 
      ballgames.

       

      Prior
      to Saturday's 1-0 loss to Winston-Salem, Wilmington had not been shut 
      out in 2014. The Blue Rocks' last shutout loss came on on August 29, 
      2013, in game one of a doubleheader against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. 
      In that seven-inning contest, the Pelicans handed the Blue Crew a 3-0 
      loss as the trio of Alex Gonzalez, Randol Rojas and Tyler Smith managed 
      to keep the Rocks off the board and hold Vance Wilson's squad to 
      just two hits. No current Blue Rocks appeared in that game. The last 
      time Wilmington was shut out in a full nine-inning game came three days 
      earlier, when the Potomac Nationals beat the Rocks 2-0. Potomac's 
      starting pitcher that day, Paul Demny, pitched six shutout innings, 
      while Greg Holt, Colin Bates and Robert Benincasa kept the Blue Crew off
      of the board during the final three frames. The Blue Rocks had six hits
      that night, and Lopez, the team's current second baseman, was 
      responsible for two of them.

       

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      "The
      biggest play of the day was that little chopped base hit down the third
      base line. The third baseman comes in and bare-hands and throws a 
      strike to first base. That was a big play and really that was our only 
      scoring opportunity of the game. It's hard to win with only three hits. 
      Our pitching and our defense was still there; we just need to get some 
      timely hits."

       

      "I
      thought [Daniel Stumpf] did a very good job. He faced those guys last 
      time and they got him pretty good. He only threw two innings, I think, 
      that day. He went out there today and did a much better job, went deep 
      in the game for us. Ali [Williams] came in and did a great job. [Kyle] Bartsch right there in the ninth inning gave us a chance to win the ballgame."

       

      Starting Pitcher Daniel Stumpf:

       

      "I
      felt like I was working the zone. I was still up a little bit but I 
      didn't feel like it hurt me as much. That was my main deal. My off-speed
      was working. Also, being able to get ahead a little bit let me throw my
      off-speed more than I did the other day."

       

      "[My]
      first start I was a little amped up and was really fast. My times to 
      the plate were super fast, especially for being from the left side. I 
      think I was throwing like a 1.1 to home plate. I had runners on, I 
      wasn't loading so I'd get up in the zone, I'd get in hitter's counts and
      then I'd give up a little hit or I'd ending up giving up a ground ball.
      But, I mean, getting in a hitter's count is going to run your pitch 
      count up and you're not going to be able to last long. That was a prime 
      example of it the other day against Winston-Salem with 2 innings. That 
      was my main problem there."

       

      Lopez Sends Frawley Stadium Crowd Into Frenzy With Walk-Off Homer

      Rocks Beat Salem, 4-3, Thanks To Second Baseman’s Long Ball

       

      Wilmington, DE - With Wilmington down, 3-2, Jack Lopez sent Frawley Stadium into a frenzy by launching a walk-off, two-run, homer that gave the Blue Rocks a 4-3 victory Monday over the Salem Red Sox. Lopez crushed the no-doubt-about it shot to left field with one out in the ninth and Kenny Diekroeger standing at first base. The Blue Crew improved to 16-19 on the season.

       

      Johermyn Chavez led off the home half of the ninth inning with a single, giving him base hits in nine of the last ten games he’s played. Mike Antonio then grounded into a fielder’s choice for the first out of the frame. With Lopez coming to the plate, Manager Darryl Kennedy elected to pinch-run for Antonio with Diekroeger. 

       

      Salem took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth inning on a solo homer by Aneury Tavarez. It was the outfielder’s third long ball of the year and the fifth given up by Almonte.

      Fortunately for the Blue Rocks, that home run was the only major mistake Almonte made Monday. The talented righty pitched six innings and yielded just three runs while punching out seven, his second-highest total of the year. Almonte also displayed his best command of the year. After walking a batter in each of his first six starts, he did not issue a free pass Monday.

       

      Wilmington scored first, Monday, on a series of bizarre plays in the opening frame. Raul Mondesi struck out to lead off the game, but reached because he swung at a very wild pitch from Red Sox starter Simon Mercedes. Mondesi then stole second but began to walk toward the first-base dugout, thinking he was out. Mercedes then attempted to throw out Mondesi, but instead uncorked a wild throw into center field. That moved Mondesi to third for Bubba Starling, who drilled an RBI single to center to give the Rocks a 1-0 lead.

       

      Over the next four frames, the Blue Rocks and Red Sox traded runs, leaving the game deadlocked, 2-2. Salem tied the contest at one in the third inning on an RBI single from Matty Johnson. Wilmington re-took the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the third on a Hunter Dozier RBI single. Jonathan Roof tied it again for the Red Sox on an RBI fielder’s choice grounder to short.

       

      Zeb Sneed (1-1, 1.72) picked up his first win of the year for the Blue Rocks, while William Cuevas (2-5, 6.00) suffered the loss for Salem. Almonte and Mercedes each received a no-decision.

       

      The Blue Rocks return to action Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium for the second of three games against the Salem Red Sox. Wilmington will send lefty Jonathan Dziedzic (3-2, 1.65) to the mound while fellow southpaw Cody Kukuk (1-0, 3.00) takes the bump for the Salem Red Sox. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      The Blue Rocks struck out 12 times as a team Monday night against Salem Red Sox pitching. It is the third consecutive game in which an opposing team has struck out 12 or more Blue Crew hitters. The Lynchburg Hillcats struck out 13 Rocks in each of the final two games of this weekend’s four-game series; those 13 punchouts are currently a Blue Rocks season-high. There were two strange occurrences Monday among Wilmington’s 12 punchouts. Four Blue Rocks who struck out managed to reach base thanks to two Salem wild pitches and two Salem passed balls. Raul MondesiTerrance Gore and Mike Antonio all reached safely thanks to a dropped-third strike. Mondesi made it safely to first twice on a dropped-third strike. Blue Rocks hitters struck out four times in the sixth inning Monday, thanks to Antonio reaching first.

       

      Jack Lopez’s homer gave Wilmington its second walk-off of the year and its first walk-off homer of the season. The Rocks also walked off on April 27 against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, thanks to one of the most bizarre plays anyone had ever seen. With Terrance Gore at third, Raul Mondesi struck out, but reached on a dropped-third strike. That allowed Gore to sprint home from third and score the winning run. Catcher Jorge Alfaro attempted to tag Gore instead of throwing to first, but missed the tag. That allowed Mondesi to reach and Gore to score the winning run. 

       

      Jack Lopez’s walk-off homer Monday was his first long ball of the year and the fifth of his career. Lopez hit the first four home runs of his career last year with the Blue Rocks. He did not hit one in 2012, his first season as a professional. Lopez hit his first homer ever on Opening Day 2013, at Myrtle Beach on April 5. He also went deep last year on May 11 at Frederick, on June 29 at home against Potomac and on July 4 at Potomac.

       

      Wilmington’s bullpen pitched three more shutout innings on Monday. The ‘pen has been effective all season long and has combined to post a 5-5 record and 2.93 ERA. Collectively, the Blue Rocks bullpen has allowed just 101 hits and struck out 126 in 120 innings pitched. Johnny Walter pitched two sterling frames in relief of Miguel Almonte Monday, yielding no runs on one hit. Zeb Sneed tossed a scoreless ninth, striking out two and giving up one hit while winning his first game of the year. It was just the third outing of the year for Walter, who was on the Disabled List from April 8 to May 4.  

       

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “I applaud the guys for sticking with it. They had our number, that kid threw a heck of a ballgame at their place against us. Tonight, it didn’t look like we were going to get anything again. Jack [Lopez] did a great job there in the ninth inning. Kind of overshadowed was [Miguel] Almonte’s performance. I thought Almonte threw a very good ballgame…Kind of overshadowed after how it ended, but he was able to locate when he needed to. He’s got a great changeup, was able to use it and keep those guys off balance. He made one mistake on the 2-1 fastball that the guy hit out for a home run but other than that I thought he threw a very good ballgame.”

       

      “The one thing about [Raul Mondesi] is he’s going to give you everything he’s got. He’s struggled at the plate lately but that’s one thing you can always count on, that he’s going to hustle and he’s going to play hard. For a kid that young to be, emotionally, that mature is unbelievable. He’s going to grow and he’s going to get smarter and he’s going to get his hitting figured out. I’ve got no problems with Mondi. I don’t worry about him, he’s going to figure things out.”

       

      “It’s a great feeling to get that clutch hit. [Jack Lopez has] quietly turned things around here lately. He’s been one of our hottest hitters. For him to get that tonight was huge. I wasn’t expecting a homerun. When it was hit I was like, ‘Okay, that one’s off the wall.’ My concentration was on getting Kenny [Diekroeger] to score, but I’m glad it went out. He got a hold of it, it’s just that this ballpark’s not known for homeruns, especially to left field. I was happy it went out.”

       

      “[Our bullpen was] outstanding. [Johnny Walter] hadn’t pitched in four days, just coming off the DL. We had to get him in there. In a perfect situation you really don’t want him to go in there in a 3-2 ballgame but he stepped up big for us. He pitched a very good two innings. [Zeb] Sneed came in, as well, and pitched a good night for us. Our bullpen’s been there all year, same with our starting pitching and that’s the reason why we’re hanging around. Just a couple of games under .500 and that’s because of our pitching. Our pitching’s been outstanding this year and they’re keeping us in ballgames.”

       

      Second-Baseman Jack Lopez:

       

      “[The walk-off homer] was a fastball over the plate…I thought I took a pretty good swing at that first one and I thought I wasn’t going to see another one but luckily I did and I was able to square it up…I hit it pretty good. I think that’s all I’ve got, so if it didn’t go out I was going to be pretty upset.”

       

      “It was exciting [to win a one-run game]. We’ve got to tip our hats to our pitchers. [Miguel] Almonte threw great; he gave up three runs and kept us in the game. Same with [Johnny Walter] and [Zeb Sneed], they threw the ball great. [Johermyn Chavez] got to get us going in the last inning and [Mike] Antonio was able to get on too with the force out and I was able to drive him in.”

       

      “This team has some amazing talent. From one to nine, I can’t say we’ve been struggling but all of our games have been close. It’s been one run or two runs, even when we win it’s close. We’re going to get it together, though. We have too much talent and everyone is going to chip in and do their job and we’re going to be just fine.”

       

      “I’m just trying to be more consistent. I was here last year and I wasn’t able to put up the numbers I knew I could and that they knew I could so they sent me back and I’m just going out there and working hard every day. Just going out there and trying to do what I know I can do and I just keep working hard.”

       

      “[Adjusting from short to second is] really difficult. People say, ‘Oh, it’s just right there,’ but when you’re at short your whole life and you go to second it’s like they moved the whole world around. With such an amazing talent at short in Mondi, I take him like a little brother and help him out. Whatever the organization needs I’ll be there for them.”

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
      www.bluerocks.com

       

      This post was edited by David Willauer at May 13, 2014 12:18 AM EDT
    • April 17, 2014 1:23 AM EDT
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      Wilmington Victorious In Game One Blowout, Falls In Nightcap Nail-Biter

       

      Wilmington, DE – The Wilmington Blue Rocks remain one game below the .500 mark after splitting Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Lynchburg Hillcats. Wilmington took game one, 7-2, thanks to a stellar pitching performance from righty Miguel Almonte and a seven-run sixth inning. Lynchburg bounced back to win game two, 3-2, behind five shutout innings from right-hander Greg Ross. 

       

      Almonte (2-0, 2.60) turned in perhaps the best outing by a Blue Rocks pitcher this season. Wednesday was Almonte’s deepest outing of the campaign, as he tossed six shutout innings. The right-hander allowed just one hit, fanned seven and walked only two. He struck out the side in the fourth and retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced. 

       

      The Rocks backed up Almonte’s sterling effort with an avalanche of runs in the top of the sixth inning. Wilmington sent 10 men to the plate in the frame, got six hits and scored seven times to blow open what had been a scoreless tie. Raul A. Mondesi got it started when he snuck a grounder inside the bag at first and into the right-field corner for a leadoff triple. He came home one out later on Hunter Dozier’s RBI liner into right. That started a string of seven straight Rocks reaching base. Johermyn Chavez singled and Cody Stubbs walked to load the bases. That chased Lynchburg starter Wes Parsons (1-1, 3.45), who was replaced by lefty reliever Eric Pfisterer.

       

      Wilmington greeted him rather rudely as Jack Lopez laced a double down the line in left that scored a pair. After a Cam Gallagher walk, Daniel Rockett plated two more when he doubled off the base of the left-field fence. Terrance Gore capped the inning’s scoring with a double to left that brought Gallagher and Rockett home.

       

      Right-hander Yender Caramo got the nod in the nightcap for the Blue Crew and showed improvement over his first outing. He yielded three runs on six hits over four frames while striking out two and issuing two free passes. The Hillcats were never able to string together a significant rally off of Caramo (0-2, 7.00), but instead nickel-and-dimed him to score one run in the first and two in the fourth. Caramo left the game with the Rocks trailing, 3-0, and was replaced by righty Matthew Murray.

       

      Thanks to Ross’s dominance, the Rocks were held off of the scoreboard through the first five innings, much like in game one. When Ross (1-0, 2.08) was lifted before the sixth inning for right-handed reliever Alex Wilson, the Blue Rocks offense pounced on the opportunity. Mondesi led off the frame with a single. Bubba Starling was then hit by a pitch and Hunter Dozier took a free pass. After Cody Stubbs struck out, Johermyn Chavez drove in Mondesi with an RBI single and Mark Donato hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Blue Rocks to within 3-2.

       

      In the seventh and final inning of the nightcap, Wilmington attempted to mount one last rally. With two outs in the frame, Mondesi singled to right, his third hit of the ballgame, and then Starling followed it up with a single of his own through the hole on the left side of the Hillcats infield. That put runners at first and third for Dozier, who struck out to end the ballgame.

       

      The Blue Rocks return to action Thursday in Lynchburg for the rubber match of against the Hillcats. Left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic (2-0, 1.64) will make his third start of the season for Wilmington, while righty Jarrett Miller (0-0, 2.10) will take the bump for the Hillcats. First pitch for the series finale is slated for 6:05 p.m., and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      Wilmington’s doubleheader Wednesday was its first of the 2014 campaign. The Blue Crew’s last twin-bill was on August 29, 2013, when they split one with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at Frawley Stadium. Both halves of that doubleheader were shutouts, with Myrtle Beach victorious in game one, 3-0, and the Blue Rocks taking the second contest, 1-0. The Rocks played a total of seven doubleheaders a year ago; they won both games twice, lost both games twice, and split three.

       

      Mondesi put together a solid day at the plate in Wednesday’s twin-bill after seeing his five-game hitting streak come to an end Monday. He finished a combined 4-for-8 at the plate  and is now 12-for-41 (.291) this season. Despite his recent struggles with the bat, Starling has also managed to find ways to reach base for Wilmington. He was aboard the basepaths a combined four times between the two games. In game one, Starling was hit by a pitch and walked; in the nightcap, he was hit by a pitch a second time and singled.

       

      With both Almonte and Caramo pitching well Wednesday, Wilmington has now received six consecutive exceptional starts from its rotation. Over the past full turn through the Blue Rocks rotation, the team’s starting pitchers have allowed a combined four runs over 33.2 innings pitched. That is good for a 1.08 ERA. Jonathan Dziedzic opened on the stretch by tossing six shutout innings Friday and striking out seven. Christian Binford topped Dziedzic on Saturday and pitched seven scoreless frames while fanning 10. On Sunday, Daniel Stumpf threw 5.2 innings and allowed just one run while whiffing five. Sean Manaea delivered five shutout innings Monday with five punchouts. 

       

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “[Miguel Almonte] did a good job. He established the fastball early in the game and then used his breaking ball later in the game. He just kept them off balance. He did a good job commanding the zone pretty well.”

       

      “That’s one guy out of nine that we are getting hot. We’ll be okay. I’m not worried about our offense. I think we’ll be fine. It’s just a matter of getting guys ABs and getting the season going. [Raul A. Mondesi] swung the bat well today. Now we just have to get some other guys going. We’ll be all right.”

       

      “It was nice. I was happy to get the one. Then, the next thing you know we get another big hit there and another double and another double and get a 7-0 lead. It was pretty nice going into that last inning with a seven-run cushion.”

       

    • April 18, 2014 1:43 PM EDT
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      Mondesi, Dziedzic Stay Hot As Rocks Win Rubber Match In Lynchburg

      Victory Is Team’s Fifth Over The Last Seven Games

       

      Lynchburg, VA – For the second consecutive day, Raul A. Mondesi hit a clutch triple that led directly to a Wilmington Blue Rocks win. Mondesi stepped to the plate in the top of the third inning with one out, runners at second and third and the Blue Crew down, 1-0. He proceeded to launch a triple off of the right field fence that gave the Rocks a 2-1 lead, one they would never relinquish in a 4-2 win Thursday over the Lynchburg Hillcats. The Rocks took two out of three from Lynchburg this week and improved to 7-7 on the season.

       

      Though it was evident early on in the ballgame that Jonathan Dziedzic did not have his best stuff, he battled through five solid innings to hold Lynchburg to just one run on five hits. Lynchburg scored their lone run off of Dziedzic in the first inning, when Kyle Wren scored from second on an infield single by Kevin Ahrens. Wren had been running with the pitch and never stopped when he saw the play developing slowly. Dziedzic (3-0, 1.69) is the first Blue Rocks starting pitcher to reach three wins this season and remains undefeated as a pro. Dziedzic now owns a 5-0 career record.

       

      Wilmington’s third inning rally began with a Cam Gallagher single to lead off the frame. After Daniel Rockett flew out to the warning track in center for the first out, Terrance Gore pulled a ball fair past the third base bag into the left field corner for a one-out double. That put runners at second and third for Mondesi. Hunter Dozier followed up Mondesi’s triple by lifting a sacrifice fly to left, which plated Mondesi for Wilmington’s third and final run of the frame. All three runs in the inning came off of Lynchburg starter Jarrett Miller (0-1, 3.00), who settled down to allow only those three runs over 6.2 innings pitched.

       

      Still leading, 3-1, as they entered the top of the eighth, the Blue Crew added an insurance run off of right-handed reliever Patrick Scoggin to extend their lead to 4-1. The rally was made possible when Lynchburg botched a couple of routine defensive plays. With one out in the inning, Bubba Starling blooped a ball into left field that could have been caught but instead turned into a double. Dozier then popped out to first before Zane Evans drew a walk. A double steal put runners at second and third for Cody Stubbs, who grounded a ball softly to second base that Jose Peraza could not handle, which allowed Starling to score.

       

      Lynchburg added one final run to their total in the bottom of the eighth inning off of lefty Kyle Bartsch. Wren led off the inning with his second single of the day and promptly stole both second and third base. Ahrens drove him in for the second time in the ballgame with a sacrifice fly to center. Wren stole four bases off of Wilmington pitching on Thursday, the most by a Blue Rocks opponent this season.

       

      The Blue Rocks return to action Friday in Myrtle Beach as they open up a four-game set against the Pelicans. Right-hander Christian Binford (1-0, 0.00) will make his third start of the season for Wilmington, while southpaw Luis Parra (2-0, 4.09) will take the bump for the Hillcats. First pitch for the series opener is slated for 7:05 p.m., and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      As a team, the Blue Rocks have stolen 18 bases this season, which is second in the Carolina League. What really stands out, though, is that not a single Wilmington base stealer has been thrown out; the Blue Crew is a perfect 18-for-18 on the basepaths. Terrance Gore and Jack Lopez currently lead the Rocks in stolen bases with four apiece. Mondesi and Kenny Diekroeger both have three steals, tying them for second on the team, while Dozier, Starling, Evans and Tyler Chism have all contributed one stolen base each. The Hillcats currently lead the Carolina League with 20 steals.

       

      With Dziedzic‘s excellent start Thursday, Wilmington has now received seven consecutive exceptional starts from its rotation. Over the past seven ballgames, the team's starting pitchers have allowed a combined five runs over 38.2 innings pitched. That is good for a 1.16 ERA. Dziedzic opened up the stretch himself by tossing six shutout innings last Friday and striking out seven. Christian Binford topped Dziedzic on Saturday and pitched seven scoreless frames while fanning 10. On Sunday, Daniel Stumpf threw 5.2 innings and allowed just one run while whiffing five. Sean Manaea delivered five shutout innings of his own Monday with five punchouts. Miguel Almonte pitched six shutout innings in game one of Wednesday’s doubleheader and struck out seven while yielding just one hit. In game two, Yender Caramo tossed four innings and allowed three runs while striking out a pair.

       

      After beating Lynchburg on Thursday, Wilmington has now won back-to-back series for the first time since last August. The Blue Rocks won their final two series of the 2013 campaign, taking two out of three from both Myrtle Beach Pelicans and the Winston-Salem Dash. The Blue Crew’s 2014 schedule began with the same two opponents, but the Rocks split their opening series against the Dash and were swept by the Pelicans in their second series. Wilmington finally picked up its first series win of 2014 by taking three out of four from Winston-Salem at home before moving on to take two out of three from Lynchburg on the road. 

       

      Catcher Zane Evans was activated off of the disabled list prior to Thursday’s first pitch and went 0-for-3 at the plate in his return to the lineup. Evans also walked and stole a base in the eighth inning, which helped Wilmington score a crucial insurance run. Evans had been sidelined since April 9, when Myrtle Beach third baseman Joey Gallo accidentally struck him in the back of the head with the follow through of his swing. In a corresponding roster move, catcher Beau Maggi was transferred to Rookie-Level Idaho Falls.

       

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “[Jonathan Dziedzic] had to work for this win, no doubt about it. That third inning, they had a lot of action going on. For him to keep them off the scoreboard there, that was huge. He didn’t have his best stuff and it looked like he changed his game plan a little bit at the beginning and then settled in after that and started pitching a little better and mixing up speeds and using his off-speed [pitches]. The first couple of innings it looked like he was trying to establish the fastball a little too much and that got him out of rhythm.”

       

      “I think [Raul A. Mondesi] has pretty much been there all year for us. The biggest thing is now he’s coming up with runners in scoring position. The bottom of the lineup did a good job of getting on for him and setting it up. He’s pretty much been our hottest hitter all year and now he’s just getting a chance to drive runners in.”

       

      “Our pitching, again, is keeping us in ballgames and giving us the chance to win. It’s just a matter of time before our offense starts heating up a little bit. Hopefully we’ll get to Myrtle [Beach] and the weather will be nice and our offense will start taking off.”

       

    • April 24, 2014 1:18 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      Mondesi Plays Starring Role In Blue Crew’s 4-3 Win Over Carolina                                                                                 Talented 18-Year-Old Went 3-for-4 With A Home Run, Saved The Game With His Defense

       

      Wilmington, DE – Raul A. Mondesi put on quite the show for Wilmington Blue Rocks fans Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. Mondesi went 3-for-4 at the plate, homered, drove in two and made a dazzling defensive play at shortstop in the eighth inning to help preserve Wilmington’s 4-3 win over the Carolina Mudcats. With the victory, the Rocks improved to 8-11 on the season.

       

      Mondesi’s eighth-inning defensive heroics came with two outs in the frame and the Mudcats already having scored to pull within 4-3. Ollie Linton then stepped to the plate with Charlie Valerio at first and James Roberts at second and flared a base hit just over third-baseman Hunter Dozier’s head into shallow left field. Roberts attempted to score from second, but Mondesi barehanded the ball in shallow-left field and gunned an off-balance strike to the plate to throw out Roberts by a wide margin.

       

      It was Mondesi’s bat, though, that gave the Rocks a lead to protect in the first place. With the ballgame tied, 2-2, in the bottom of the fifth inning, Mondesi hit his first home run of the campaign, a towering blast to deep-right center that gave the Rocks a 3-2 lead. The long ball was just Wilmington’s fourth as a team this season.

       

      Wilmington took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the first inning, when four consecutive Rocks singled to start the frame. Mondesi led off with an infield single and then advanced to second on a line-drive base hit to left by Bubba StarlingHunter Dozier, who also finished the night 3-for-4, singled to drive home Mondesi. Starling would then score on a sacrifice fly by Johermyn Chavez, which gave the Blue Rocks a 2-1 lead at the time.

       

      Yender Caramo turned in his best start of the season for the Blue Crew Wednesday, and held Carolina to just two runs on seven hits over six solid innings. Caramo allowed the Mudcats to take an early lead in the top of the first inning, when Logan Vick hit a one-out single, moved to third on a double by Erik Gonzalez and scored on an RBI groundout by Jeremy Lucas.  The only other blemish on Caramo’s night came in the form of a solo homer by Lucas in the third inning.

       

      Caramo (1-2, 5.40) picked up his first win of the campaign for the Blue Rocks, while Cole Sulser (0-2, 3.22) suffered his second defeat. Mark Peterson, who pitched 1.1 scoreless innings in relief but allowed an inherited runner to score, earned his third save of the year.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Thursday night at Frawley Stadium for game two of three against the Carolina Mudcats. Southpaw Jonathan Dziedzic (3-0, 1.69) makes his fourth start of the season for the Blue Crew, while righty D.J. Brown (1-0, 2.57) will take the bump for Carolina. First pitch for game two is slated for 6:35 p.m., and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      Both Zane Evans and Hunter Dozier extended their hitting streaks to five games apiece Wednesday night against the Mudcats at Frawley Stadium. The five-gamer is a season-best for Evans, who had a four-game hitting streak to open up the campaign. It is also a season-best for Dozier, who had not yet recorded a hit in more than three consecutive games prior to this current stretch. Dozier is hitting .421 (8-for-19) over the past five ballgames, while Evans is batting .412 (7-for-17) over the same period.

       

      Raul A. Mondesi’s fifth-inning home run was just the fourth hit by a Blue Rock this season and the team’s first since April 8, when Bubba Starling lofted an opposite-field shot over the right-field fence. The homer was the first for Mondesi this season and the 11th in the talented-shortstop’s young career. Mondesi hit seven last season at Low-A Lexington and three in 2012 at Low-A Idaho Falls. Wilmington’s other two long balls were hit on April 4 at Winston-Salem by Johermyn Chavez and Cody Stubbs. Carolina also went deep Wednesday, the third by an opponent at Frawley Stadium this season, courtesy of an opposite-field blast by Jeremy Lucas. Only five total dingers have been hit on the Riverfront this season.

      With two more stolen bases Wednesday, the Blue Rocks have now swiped 23 bags this season, which is second in the Carolina League. What really stands out, though, is that not a single Wilmington base stealer has been thrown out; the Blue Crew is a perfect 23-for-23 on the basepaths. Terrance Gore currently leads the Rocks in stolen bases with six. Jack Lopez and Raul A. Mondesi are tied for second on the team with five. Kenny Diekroeger has three steals, which puts him third, while Hunter Dozier, Bubba Starling, Zane Evans and Tyler Chism have all contributed one stolen base each. Lynchburg currently leads the Carolina League with 29 steals. On the defensive side of the ball, Wilmington catcher Cam Gallagher gunned down two of the three would-be baserunners that tried to steal on him Wednesday. Opponents are now just 15-for-24 this season when attempting to steal against the durable backstop.

      After going 3-for-4 at the plate Wednesday, Raul A. Mondesi is now the Blue Rocks team leader in multi-hit games. Mondesi has five games in which he has recorded more than one hit. The 18-year-old now has two three-hit games on the campaign to go along with three two-hit contests. Zane Evans and Hunter Dozier are second on the team with four multi-hit games, while Johermyn Chavez and Jack Lopez each have three multi-hit games. The only Rock to have four base hits in a contest is Evans, who performed the feat on April 6 at Winston-Salem.

       

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “It was nice to win a one-run ballgame; we’ve been on the short side of it a few times this year already. [Yender] Caramo did a good job. That first inning, that’s been his track record. Give up some runs in that first and he bared down after that and looked really good. His fourth, fifth and sixth innings looked really good for him.”

       

      “[Raul A. Mondesi]’s been swinging the bat the most consistently for us all year. He’s got that weapon as a bunter that you never know. You’ve really got to respect that as an infielder. It just opens up holes for him. He’s getting hot. He put a good swing on a ball and hit it out of here. It was a big night for him. He made a heck of a play there in the eighth inning, as well, [with] that little base hit. Just to have the instincts and the ability to know what’s going on and make a perfect throw to the plate, that was outstanding…He might be the youngest in the league. The kid’s grown up around baseball, his dad being who he was. He’s just got the intelligence and the instincts to play this game.”

       

       “I think the guys have done a really good job of reading the pitchers. Also, reading the counts and reading whose hitting at the plate. They’ve done a very good job of that and it shows. I don’t know what our percentage is right now but I think we’re pretty good at it. We’ve been pretty successful so far.”

       

      Raul A. Mondesi:

       

      “It was a fastball. I went into that at-bat looking for the fastball and I got it. I put a good swing on it.”

       

      “It was my instinct. I got the ball and tried to come in to take time but I saw the runner run and I threw home.”

       

      “I always tell my dad and he says, ‘It doesn’t matter that you’re the youngest guy, play your baseball.’ It doesn’t matter. I feel the same…I talk to him a lot. I was just on the phone with him. He’ll say, ‘It’s okay, don’t worry about this night or that night’… It felt good when I was a little guy and I saw my dad play. I grew up thinking like that. I want to be in the Major Leagues. I want to be a good player like he was.”

       

      Hunter Dozier:

       

      “[The win is] important. We need to get back on a winning streak. It was important to get this first one and hopefully we can come out and do the same thing tomorrow.”

       

    • April 29, 2014 12:52 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      Wilmington Blue Rocks score 2 runs in the 5th as they defeated Myrtle Beach Pelicans 2-1

       
      By David A. Willauer-Contributing Editor-Judy Johnson Field at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium-Wilmington, DE-Monday, April 28, 2014-The Wilmington Blue Rocks improve their record to 10-13 on the season as they scored one run in the bottom of the second by Johermyn Chavez on a throwing error by Pelicans second baseman Christopher Bostick and one run in the bottom of the fifth inning on an rbi  bases loaded walk by Hunter Dozier scoring Daniel Rockett as they defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at 15-9 by a 2-1 score to take game 3 of the series.
       
      Sean Manaea records his first win of the season for the Blue Rocks as his record improves to 1-2 he pitched 5 innings gave up 4 hits 1 run 1 earned 1 walk and 8 strikeouts.  
       
      "After bouncing back from my second start at Myrtle Beach which was one of the worst performances I had but it's great to comeback and I pitched well." "It's great for the team and for me to get back in the swing of things after my win that will hopefully to start a winning streak for us to get going." said Sean Manaea.  "With my eight strikeouts that I had today my fastball is my main pitch as I have kept my control down felt like the difference in today then the last time I pitched was Steve Lubber taught me to keep the ball down on both sides of the plate and Myrtle Beach is a good fastball hitting ballclub but my pitches worked well."  "This is my third time that I pitched against the Pelicans which is the charm I'll see different teams during the season as I try to relax in the dugout and to see what my opponents are doing I try to pay attention." "It is good for us but as a pitcher my job is try not to worry about it but I have to focus on what I do each inning in order to get better each day and to throw strikes."  "It's awesome to get my first professional win today my go to pitch was my fastball and a slider I have trouble with my change up for strikes as that pitch I throw is more horizontal and vertical as I feel am not in midseason form now I am getting fatigued when the more I build up it will be in the 7th or 8th inning I'll improve on it."
       
      For the Pelicans, they scored their only run in the top of the sixth as Odubel Herrera led off with a double, moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Joey Gallo hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield.  Sam Wolff is the loser at 3-2 as he pitched 5 innings gave up 2 hits 2 runs 1 which was earned 5 walks and 5 strikeouts.   
    • May 3, 2014 1:19 AM EDT
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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY MAY 2, 2014

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Spectacular Pitching Highlights Wire-To-Wire Win For Wilmington

      Rocks Fan 14 To End Five-Game Road Losing Streak

      Zebulon, NC – Early offense and sterling pitching helped lead the Wilmington Blue Rocks to a 3-1 win over the Carolina Mudcats on Friday night at Five County Stadium. The Rocks used a pair of first-inning runs to take a lead they would never relinquish thanks to three pitchers combining to fan 14 and allow just a single score on seven hits.  With the triumph, Wilmington improves to 11-14 on the season.

      The Rocks wasted little time on offense.  Raul Mondesi opened the game with a single and then scored one out later on Zane Evans’ double to right-centerfield.  Johermyn Chavez followed with a run-scoring single to right that pushed the Blue Crew edge to two runs.  Wilmington reestablished that two-tally edge in the fifth.  Daniel Rockett roped a lead-off double into the right-field corner and then came home on Bubba Starling’s soft liner to center one batter later.

      That was more than enough for the Rocks’ pitching staff, as Jonathan Dziedzic, Glenn Sparkman and Mark Peterson combined to frustrate the Carolina offense all night.  Dziedzic threw too many pitchers to make it through the requisite five frames in order to qualify for a win, but the left-hander did whiff eight Mudcats and yielded only one run on five hits in 4.2 frames.

      Sparkman (1-0) entered with a man at first and two outs in the fifth.  The right-hander quickly ended that inning and then worked two more scoreless frames on his way to a victory.  He struck out five and walked none while allowing just a one-out single in the seventh.  Sparkman gave way to Peterson in the eighth, and the Blue Crew closer retired six of the seven batters he faced en route to his fifth save in as many tries in 2014.

      The Blue Rocks continue their seven-game road trip on Saturday when they face the Mudcats again.  Wilmington will send right-hander Christian Binford (1-1, 2.53) to the mound, while Carolina will counter with southpaw Shawn Morimando (3-0, 1.88). First pitch is slated for 6 p.m., and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Blue Crew will return to Frawley Stadium on Thursday, May 8.  For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
      Hunter Dozier has now reached base safely in 11 straight games. He has hits in 10 of those contests as the infielder went 1-for-3 with a walk on Friday.  Dozier is hitting .405 (15-for-37) during this torrid stretch with one homer, and seven RBIs and has raised his batting average by 104 points from .157 to .261.  Dozier appears to favor the road where he is batting .333 as opposed to the .186 average he is sporting at home this year.

      Cam Gallagher executed a sacrifice bunt in the sixth inning on Thursday. It was the first sacrifice of the season for the Wilmington catcher and only the second in Gallagher's four-year professional career. His only other successful sacrifice bunt came on August 2, 2013 when Gallagher was with Low-A Lexington. As a team, the Rocks have five sacrifices, which is tied for the second-most in the Carolina League in 2014.

      The Blue Rocks have been the most efficient team in the Carolina League on the basepaths this season. After a Daniel Rockett theft Friday, Wilmington is a remarkable 27-for-28 in stolen-base attempts. Not a single Blue Rocks baserunner has been thrown out by a catcher this season. The only blemish on the Rocks' sterling record came last Saturday, when Kenny Diekroeger was picked off first base. Terrance Gore currently leads the Blue Crew with eight thefts, while Jack Lopez and Raul Mondesi are tied for second on the team with five. Diekroeger has three steals, which puts him third, Bubba Starling ranks fourth with two, while Rockett, Hunter Dozier, Zane Evans and Tyler Chism have all contributed one stolen base each. Lynchburg currently leads the Carolina League with 34 steals.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “It's important to get out early especially since we really haven't been lighting up the scoreboard with runs. To come out tonight and get those two [first-inning] runs, it really helped us out mentally. It allowed the guys to relax and we were able to swing the bats pretty good. We're getting close, we really are. We just need to keep getting guys on base. I still have complete confidence in our offense. I think it's just a matter of time until somebody gets one big hit and that will completely turn the page.”

      “You've got to hand it to Dziedzic. Bases loaded and nobody out in the third it was huge that he was able to limit the damage there and hold them to only one run.”

      “We turned it over to Sparkman and Peterson tonight and they've been there for us all year. I mentioned to [Royals Director of Scouting] Scott Sharp a couple of days ago that in all of my years as a manager, this is the best bullpen I've ever had. There's really no weak link down there. Every guy I have a lot of confidence in when we bring them into a game. They've done a tremendous job for us this year.”

       

      Left-Handed Pitcher Jonathan Dziedzic:

       

      “I felt like last game I threw against Carolina I really struggled with command. I came out [Friday] a little bit better, but still, two walks is something you never want to have. And I also kind of wasted a few too many pitches, but overall I felt like it was better than last time.”

      “The last guy there that I faced [with two outs in the fifth] I was up 1-2, but then I threw three straight balls there, which you just can't do. I kind of figured at that point I was up against it because I threw a lot of pitches in the third inning. You always want to get through five and get wins, but there are more important things than that.”

      “We have a lot of depth in our bullpen. Everyone of our relievers is capable of going two or three really solid innings or more. It feels great as a starter knowing they will be there to be pick you up. It's kind of comforting. But you still want to take care of your job as a starter. You don't want to rely on that.”

      “It's always good if you can jump out to a lead. You don't want to be too fine pitching and the lead allows you go out and attack the hitters right off and kind of force contact. It's always great to get a lead and run support and that was big by the offense to be able to get that done [Friday].”

       

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
      www.bluerocks.com

      Rocks Fan 14 To End Five-Game Road Losing Streak

       

      Zebulon, NC – Early offense and sterling pitching helped lead the Wilmington Blue Rocks to a 3-1 win over the Carolina Mudcats on Friday night at Five County Stadium. The Rocks used a pair of first-inning runs to take a lead they would never relinquish thanks to three pitchers combining to fan 14 and allow just a single score on seven hits.  With the triumph, Wilmington improves to 11-14 on the season.

       

      The Rocks wasted little time on offense.  Raul Mondesi opened the game with a single and then scored one out later on Zane Evans’ double to right-centerfield.  Johermyn Chavez followed with a run-scoring single to right that pushed the Blue Crew edge to two runs.  Wilmington reestablished that two-tally edge in the fifth.  Daniel Rockett roped a lead-off double into the right-field corner and then came home on Bubba Starling’s soft liner to center one batter later.

       

      That was more than enough for the Rocks’ pitching staff, as Jonathan Dziedzic, Glenn Sparkman and Mark Peterson combined to frustrate the Carolina offense all night.  Dziedzic threw too many pitchers to make it through the requisite five frames in order to qualify for a win, but the left-hander did whiff eight Mudcats and yielded only one run on five hits in 4.2 frames.

       

      Sparkman (1-0) entered with a man at first and two outs in the fifth.  The right-hander quickly ended that inning and then worked two more scoreless frames on his way to a victory.  He struck out five and walked none while allowing just a one-out single in the seventh.  Sparkman gave way to Peterson in the eighth, and the Blue Crew closer retired six of the seven batters he faced en route to his fifth save in as many tries in 2014.

       

      The Blue Rocks continue their seven-game road trip on Saturday when they face the Mudcats again.  Wilmington will send right-hander Christian Binford (1-1, 2.53) to the mound, while Carolina will counter with southpaw Shawn Morimando (3-0, 1.88). First pitch is slated for 6 p.m., and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Blue Crew will return to Frawley Stadium on Thursday, May 8.  For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
      Hunter Dozier has now reached base safely in 11 straight games. He has hits in 10 of those contests as the infielder went 1-for-3 with a walk on Friday.  Dozier is hitting .405 (15-for-37) during this torrid stretch with one homer, and seven RBIs and has raised his batting average by 104 points from .157 to .261.  Dozier appears to favor the road where he is batting .333 as opposed to the .186 average he is sporting at home this year.

       

      Cam Gallagher executed a sacrifice bunt in the sixth inning on Thursday. It was the first sacrifice of the season for the Wilmington catcher and only the second in Gallagher's four-year professional career. His only other successful sacrifice bunt came on August 2, 2013 when Gallagher was with Low-A Lexington. As a team, the Rocks have five sacrifices, which is tied for the second-most in the Carolina League in 2014.

       

      The Blue Rocks have been the most efficient team in the Carolina League on the basepaths this season. After a Daniel Rockett theft Friday, Wilmington is a remarkable 27-for-28 in stolen-base attempts. Not a single Blue Rocks baserunner has been thrown out by a catcher this season. The only blemish on the Rocks' sterling record came last Saturday, when Kenny Diekroeger was picked off first base. Terrance Gore currently leads the Blue Crew with eight thefts, while Jack Lopez and Raul Mondesi are tied for second on the team with five. Diekroeger has three steals, which puts him third, Bubba Starling ranks fourth with two, while Rockett, Hunter Dozier, Zane Evans and Tyler Chism have all contributed one stolen base each. Lynchburg currently leads the Carolina League with 34 steals.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “It's important to get out early especially since we really haven't been lighting up the scoreboard with runs. To come out tonight and get those two [first-inning] runs, it really helped us out mentally. It allowed the guys to relax and we were able to swing the bats pretty good. We're getting close, we really are. We just need to keep getting guys on base. I still have complete confidence in our offense. I think it's just a matter of time until somebody gets one big hit and that will completely turn the page.”

      “You've got to hand it to Dziedzic. Bases loaded and nobody out in the third it was huge that he was able to limit the damage there and hold them to only one run.”

      “We turned it over to Sparkman and Peterson tonight and they've been there for us all year. I mentioned to [Royals Director of Scouting] Scott Sharp a couple of days ago that in all of my years as a manager, this is the best bullpen I've ever had. There's really no weak link down there. Every guy I have a lot of confidence in when we bring them into a game. They've done a tremendous job for us this year.”

       

      Left-Handed Pitcher Jonathan Dziedzic:

       

      “I felt like last game I threw against Carolina I really struggled with command. I came out [Friday] a little bit better, but still, two walks is something you never want to have. And I also kind of wasted a few too many pitches, but overall I felt like it was better than last time.”

      “The last guy there that I faced [with two outs in the fifth] I was up 1-2, but then I threw three straight balls there, which you just can't do. I kind of figured at that point I was up against it because I threw a lot of pitches in the third inning. You always want to get through five and get wins, but there are more important things than that.”

      “We have a lot of depth in our bullpen. Everyone of our relievers is capable of going two or three really solid innings or more. It feels great as a starter knowing they will be there to be pick you up. It's kind of comforting. But you still want to take care of your job as a starter. You don't want to rely on that.”

      “It's always good if you can jump out to a lead. You don't want to be too fine pitching and the lead allows you go out and attack the hitters right off and kind of force contact. It's always great to get a lead and run support and that was big by the offense to be able to get that done [Friday].”

       

    • May 5, 2014 12:43 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SUNDAY MAY 4, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Stumpf Dominates, Leads Blue Rocks To Third Consecutive Victory Over Carolina

      Southpaw Allowed Just One Run Over 6.2 Frames and Struck Out Seven

       

      Zebulon, NC – Southpaw Daniel Stumpf turned in his best start of the season Sunday, leading the Wilmington Blue Rocks to a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Mudcats at Five County Stadium. Stumpf tossed 6.2 sterling frames and allowed just one run on four hits while punching out seven. The win was the Blue Crew’s third straight, and pulled the team back to within one of the .500 mark.

       

      Wilmington scored both of its runs in the top of the seventh inning, courtesy of an infield single from Jack Lopez. With the bases loaded and two outs, Lopez was able to beat out a grounder to shortstop, plating Cam Gallagher to put the Rocks up, 1-0. Kenny Diekroeger, who was at second base, also scored on the play when Mudcats shortstop Yhoxian Medina threw the ball away attempting to gun down Lopez at first.

       

      The Mudcats scored their lone run of the ballgame with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Stumpf retired the first two batters of the frame with ease, inducing a groundout and a lineout. The lefty then gave up a base hit to Anthony Gallas and a walk to Jerrud Sabourin, putting runners at first and second for Alex Monsalve. Darryl Kennedy then elected to remove Stumpf from the ballgame for right-hander Glenn Sparkman. Monsalve greeted Sparkman by crushing a double to left, which scored Gallas easily. However, Sabourin was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first a perfect relay throw to the dish from Terrance Gore to Jack Lopez to Cam Gallagher.

       

      Carolina continued to apply pressure in each of the final two frames of the ballgame. The Mudcats put a pair of runners aboard in both the eighth and the ninth innings off of Sparkman and Blue Rocks closer Mark Peterson. Peterson was able to escape both jams without allowing any further damage.

      Stumpf (1-4, 4.37) snapped a personal four-game losing streak Sunday to record his first win of the season. D.J. Brown (2-1, 1.75) suffered the tough-luck loss for Carolina. Peterson tossed 1.1 scoreless innings to close out the game and earn his sixth save of the season.

      The Blue Rocks continue their seven-game road trip on Monday when they open up a three-game series with the Salem Red Sox. Wilmington will send southpaw Sean Manaea (1-2, 6.46) to the mound in game one and first pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. Fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Blue Crew will return to Frawley Stadium on Thursday, May 8. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      Hunter Dozier has now reached base safely in 13 straight games. He has hits in 12 of those contests as the infielder went 1-for-4 on Sunday. Dozier is batting .386 (17-for-44) during this torrid stretch with one homer, and seven RBIs. As a result, Kansas City’s 2013 first-round pick has raised his batting average by 106 points from .157 to .263. Dozier appears to favor the road where he is batting .327 on the season, as opposed to the .186 average he sports at home this year.

       

      The Blue Rocks have been the most efficient team in the Carolina League on the basepaths this season. After a Hunter Dozier theft Sunday, Wilmington is a remarkable 29-for-30 in stolen-base attempts. Not a single Blue Rocks baserunner has been thrown out by a catcher this season. The only blemish on the Rocks' pristine record came April 26, when Kenny Diekroeger was picked off first base. Terrance Gore currently leads the Blue Crew with eight thefts, while Jack Lopez and Raul Mondesi are tied for second on the team with five. Diekroeger and Bubba Starling have three steals, which puts them third. Hunter Dozier ranks fourth with two, while Daniel Rockett, Zane Evans and Tyler Chism have all contributed one stolen base each. Lynchburg currently leads the Carolina League with 36 steals.

       

      Wilmington’s 2-1 victory Sunday gave the team its first three-game winning streak of the season. Prior Sunday Blue Rocks’ most recent three-game winning had been August 29 - September 1 of last season. Before Saturday’s 8-1 win, the Rocks had not won consecutive games in almost three weeks. The Blue Crew last strung together back-to-back victories on April 11 and 12, when it beat the Winston-Salem Dash twice. Wilmington’s longest losing streak of 2014 is five games.

      Blue Rocks closer Mark Peterson has been on a roll. Peterson, who has made 10 appearances out of the bullpen this season, has not yielded a run over his past eight outings. The only two runs he has given up all season came on April 6 at Winston-Salem. Over that stretch, Peterson has amassed a 12.1-inning scoreless streak. The righty’s six saves tie him for the Carolina League lead. Peterson’s impressive numbers are just one part of what has been an impressive bullpen for the Rocks. Collectively, the Wilmington bullpen has yielded just 29 runs, 27 of which have been earned, and posted an ERA of 2.61.

      After his RBI single in the seventh inning Sunday afternoon, Jack Lopez is now an astounding 7-for-8 at the plate this season when he comes up in the seventh frame of a ballgame. Lopez was 2-for-4 overall in Sunday’s game. The seventh inning has also been Wilmington's frame best offensively, as a team. The Rocks scored twice in the seventh Sunday and have now plated 18 runs in the frame this season. The Blue Crew is 11-0 in 2014 when leading after seven innings.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “That was a big outing for [Daniel Stumpf], being 0-4. He really hadn’t had much luck. To go out today and do what he did was impressive. He was pitch-efficient; even though I took him out there in the seventh inning, he had a low pitch count. He could have kept going. I just felt like he worked hard enough and went to the bullpen that I trust [a lot] and it paid off for us…He used [the slider] a couple of times. I don’t think he got too crazy with it, but it definitely gives him another angle against the hitters. He pitched well. The one thing I liked about today is he was able to keep the fastball down and spot it. He did a very good job holding runners, got the pickoff there; overall, just a solid job.”

      “I’m very proud of the guys. We’re starting to swing the bat better, no doubt. [Hunter] Dozier hit a ball on the screws that went right to the left fielder. Bubba [Starling] is starting to get rolling a little bit. [He’s] swinging the bat very well. I applaud the guys for just working through it and sticking with things. Again, you know, the hustle part, that’s what this game is all about. It takes absolutely no talent to run a ball out and they’ve really bought in and I’m very proud of the way they’re playing right now.”

      Starting Pitcher Daniel Stumpf:

      “I broke out the slider today. It was the first time I was going to throw it. I was pretty confident with that. That was one that we had talked about being one of the better pitches I had, so I was pretty excited to get to throw it. Today, my main focus was just to spot up the fastball [and] go back to being the finesse guy I am and not try to overpower people. I was hitting my spots, I was working in and out and I was working up and down.”

      “I threw it the last day of spring training. I had talked to some of our head guys and they thought it was one of my better breaking balls. I had the okay to go ahead and start throwing it again, so I’ve been working on it. [I’ve been] throwing it in [side sessions and] throwing it on flat ground and this was the first time I brought it out in the game. There’s still some stuff I need to do with it but I was pleased with the outcome of it.”

      “Like I said, our bats are coming around and our pitching staff, they’ve been pretty good already. We’re starting to tune in. It’s all about confidence. We needed these three to win the series. It’s just building off that and having the confidence to go out there and do it.”

      Catcher Cam Gallagher:

      “In the bullpen [Daniel Stumpf] was throwing really well. I knew today was going to be something pretty good. I knew he wasn’t too happy about his first couple of starts. Today was a day game [and] he looked like he brought his A-game.”

       

      “It’s kind of interesting because, about half of this staff I’ve played with for about three years and the other half I just started playing with them in spring training. So some of them I know really well and some of them I’m still kind of getting to know. The pitching has been keeping us in the game the whole season.”

       

      “We started off a little slow with the bats and started to come around in the seventh inning. We saw that guy previously and finally started to get on him in the seventh inning so we scratched some runs across. That’s scrappy baseball and we found a way to win.”

       

    • May 9, 2014 12:14 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

       

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY MAY 8, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Hillcats Score Seven Times In Eighth Inning To Hand Blue Rocks 9-2 Loss

      Defeat Spoiled Another Gem From Starter Jonathan Dziedzic

       

      Wilmington, DE – The Lynchburg Hillcats scored seven times in the eighth inning to break open what had been a close game and hand the Wilmington Blue Rocks a 9-2 loss. The defeat was the Blue Crew’s second straight and dropped the Rocks back to three games below the .500 mark.  

       

      Lynchburg sent 12 men to the plate in the eighth inning, including the first seven batters in a row. They recorded four base hits, three walks and a pair of hit batsmen in the frame. A bases-clearing triple by designated hitter Tyler Tewell broke the game open. At the end of the inning, Lynchburg held a 9-1 lead.

       

      Entering the eighth, Wilmington trailed just 2-1. The Rocks scored in the bottom half of the seventh on a solo home run by right-fielder Johermyn Chavez, his third of the year, and even had the tying run at second after a one-out double by second-baseman Jack Lopez.

       

      Blue Rocks starting pitcher Jonathan Dziedzic tossed another gem Thursday. The southpaw starter pitched six sterling frames and yielded just two runs, one of which was earned. He also struck out two. Dziedzic’s 1.65 ERA remains the best among Wilmington’s six starting pitchers.

       

      The Hillcats went ahead, 1-0, in the first inning on an RBI single from third-baseman Kevin Ahrens. The single drove in left-fielder David Nick from third base. Nick had tripled with two outs in the inning. Lynchburg added an insurance run in the sixth inning, to take a 2-0 lead.  

       

      Wilmington scored once more, in the ninth inning, to draw to within 9-2 on an RBI groundout from Donato. Zane Evans led off the frame with a single to left and was stationed at third when Donato stepped to the plate with just one out in the inning. 

       

      Lay Batista (1-0, 1.00) picked up his first win of the season for the Hillcats while Dziedzic (3-2, 1.65) absorbed the tough-luck defeat for Wilmington.

       

      The Blue Rocks return to action Friday at Frawley Stadium for game two against the Lynchburg Hillcats. The Blue Rocks will send right-hander Christian Binford (2-1, 1.91) to the mound while Greg Ross (2-1, 2.59) will take the bump for the Hillcats. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      Zane Evans broke an 0-for-19 skid at the plate with a single in the ninth inning Thursday. Through the first sixteen games this season, Evans batted .319. Over the past five contests in which he has played, Evans is a combined 1-for-19 at the plate with one walk and four strikeouts. Evans caught the final two ballgames against Salem, the first time this season he has been behind the plate on back-to-back days. On Thursday, he returned to the DH spot he has occupied for a lot of the season. Evans has split duties behind the plate with Cam Gallagher, with Gallagher receiving the majority of the starts there defensively. Evans is batting .283 (17-for-60) as a designated hitter but just .219 (7-for-32) when he works behind the plate.

       

      With his 3-for-4 performance Thursday night, Jack Lopez extended his hitting streak to a personal season-best six games. During the stretch, he is batting .455 (10-for-22) and his batting average has risen 55 points, from .208 to .263. One of Lopez’s hits Thursday was a double in the seventh inning. He is now an astounding 8-for-9 at the plate this season when he comes up in the seventh frame of a ballgame. The seventh inning has also been Wilmington's frame best offensively, as a team. The Rocks scored once in the seventh Thursday and have now plated 19 runs in the frame this season. 

       

      Johermyn Chavez has been red-hot at the plate over the past four ballgames. Chavez went 1-for-3 Thursday with his third homer of the season, giving him the Blue Rocks team lead. Over the past four ballgames, the slugging right fielder has gone 5-for-13 at the plate with two homers, a double, three RBIs and two walks. Prior to the Blue Crew's recent trip to Salem, the slugging right fielder had slumped to the tune of a .120 (3-for-25) batting average over his previous seven games. His average now sits 88 points higher, at .208. Chavez's best contest of the campaign came on April 4 at Winston-Salem. Against the Dash, he went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. Those four RBIs are still tied for an individual Blue Rocks season-high.

       

      Wilmington’s three errors on Thursday night set a new Blue Rocks season-high for defensive miscues in a game. Hunter DozierRaul Mondesi and Mark Donato each recorded one error in the ballgame. The Blue Rocks went errorless in six of the seven games on the recently-completed road trip to Carolina and to Salem. The Blue Crew has committed a Carolina League-low 20 errors in 2014 and has yielded just eight unearned runs, also the lowest total in the league.

       

      Lynchburg’s seven runs in the eighth inning were the most scored in a single frame by a Blue Rocks opponent this season. The previous season-high had been four, last done by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on April 20 at TicketReturn.com Field. The Hillcats’ nine runs in Thursday’s contest also set a new opponent season-high for the Blue Crew. Until Thursday, only the eight runs scored by Myrtle Beach on April 21, also at TicketReturn.com Field, had rivaled that total.

       

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “We were a little flat tonight. I think tonight might have been the first day we had to play after a long bus trip; we got in at around 4:30 in the morning. Usually, we’ve had a day off every time we travel. We were in the ballgame until that eighth inning just killed us. It got away from us. [Aroni] Nina kind of lost his control and things just snowballed. Hey, we’re going to come back and get them tomorrow. Their pitcher, he was very stingy. He loaded the bases and then struck out the side. He didn’t want to give up any runs. You’ve got to credit them a little bit.”

       

      “Another great game [for Jonathan Dziedzic]…He pitched a really good ballgame. I thought he was very sharp, as sharp as I’ve seen him in awhile. He had everything working tonight; he spotted down. Again, he has to take the tough loss.”

       

      “Yeah, [Johermyn Chavez] is definitely [finding his swing]. He had a pretty good road trip. He’s starting to do what we were hoping he would do. The weather’s heating up and hopefully his bat will rub off on some other guys and we can get things going.”

       

      Starting Pitcher Jonathan Dziedzic:

       

      “I felt like at the beginning I was kind of struggling with the curveball but towards the end I felt like I started throwing it for strikes. Steve Luebber told me to go out and throw a few more in the warm-ups because I didn’t have a good feel for it early on. I felt like towards the end I was able to throw all three pitches for strikes.”

       

      “The biggest thing [against Lynchburg] is we had a better game plan. We knew that a couple of guys really like to run so you try to keep those guys off base as much as possible because they pretty much ran at will against me last time we faced them. Other than that you just stick to the game plan. You have a certain game plan going in for certain hitters and you just try to stick to that as best you can. “

       

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
      www.bluerocks.com

       

    • May 14, 2014 12:22 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: TUESDAY MAY 13, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Dziedzic Dominates Red Sox, Leads Blue Rocks To Second-Straight Win

      Southpaw Allowed One Run Over Seven Innings And Struck Out Eight

       

      Wilmington, DE – Jonathan Dziedzic’s seven spectacular frames on the mound Tuesday led the Wilmington Blue Rocks to a 4-1 victory over the Salem Red Sox at Frawley Stadium. Dziedzic dazzled from the outset and yielded just one run on four hits. The southpaw punched out eight Red Sox batters, took a perfect game into the fifth inning and struck out the side in his final inning of work. With the win, the team’s second in a row, Wilmington improved to 17-19 on the season.

       

      A second consecutive night of poor Salem defense contributed to the Blue Crew seizing an early lead in the bottom of the third inning. Terrance Gore led off the frame by drawing a walk off of Red Sox starter Cody Kukuk. After Gore stole second base, Raul Mondesi drove a ball deep to left-center field that was misplayed by center-fielder Aneury Tavarez. The three-base error allowed Gore to score from second, giving the Rocks a 1-0 lead, and Mondesi to make it safely to third. Mondesi scored moments later on a wild pitch from Kukuk, extending the Blue Rocks’ lead to 2-0.  

       

      The offensive onslaught continued, as Wilmington worked deep counts and forced Kukuk to throw high-stress pitches. Bubba Starling and Hunter Dozier drew back-to-back walks before Kukuk settled down to retire Zane Evans and Johermyn Chavez for the frame’s first two outs. That brought up Jack Lopez who, for the second straight night, delivered a clutch RBI hit. Lopez poked a single over second-baseman Dreily Guerrero’s head to plate Starling and give Wilmington a 3-0 lead.

       

      Salem drew to within 3-1 by stringing together three consecutive two-out hits off of Dziedzic in the sixth inning. Guerrero began the rally with a soft single to right-center. Matty Johnson followed that up with a base hit through the hole on the right side of the infield. Ryan Dent then drove home Guerrero with an RBI single to left.

       

      Wilmington added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to some timely hits. Chavez led off the frame with a base hit and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Lopez. Cam Gallagher then singled, which moved Chavez to third base. Cody Stubbs drove him home with an RBI groundout.

       

      Dziedzic (4-2, 1.59) earned his fourth win of the season for Wilmington while Kukuk (1-1, 3.09) suffered his first loss of the campaign for Salem. Mark Peterson picked up his seventh save of the year by tossing two scoreless innings in relief of Dziedzic.

       

      The Blue Rocks return to action Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium for the rubber match of their three-game series against the Red Sox. Wilmington will send 6-foot-6 righty Christian Binford (2-1, 2.04) to the mound while righty Luis Diaz (3-3, 3.78) is scheduled to take the bump for Salem. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      With his dominant performance on Tuesday, Jonathan Dziedzic became the first Blue Rocks pitcher this season, aside from Christian Binford, to complete seven innings on the mound. Binford has accomplished the feat three times in 2014. Dziedzic’s seven frames Tuesday also set a new career-high, which had been six. The southpaw has tossed six innings on three occasions this year: April 11 against Winston-Salem, April 24 against Carolina, and May 8 at Lynchburg. He did not allow more than one earned run in any of those outings. Dziedzic now owns a 4-2 record and a paltry 1.59 ERA this year. He has struck out 44 in 39.2 innings pitched. Lefties are batting just .143 against Dziedzic while righties are hitting only .224.

       

      Mark Peterson’s two shutout innings and seventh save of the campaign Tuesday continued Wilmington’s bullpen dominance. Peterson’s seven saves rank second in the Carolina League behind Louis Head of the Carolina Mudcats, who has eight. The right-handed closer owns a 1-0 record and a sparkling 1.04 ERA in 12 appearances. The 'pen, as a whole, has been effective all season long and has combined to post a 5-5 record and 2.88 ERA. Collectively, Blue Rocks relievers have allowed just 102 hits and struck out 127 in 122 innings pitched. 

       

      Terrance Gore stole two bases Monday, giving him a team-leading 12 thefts in 13 tries this season. Gore’s 12 steals are tied for third in the Carolina League with Myrtle Beach’s Chris Garia. Lynchburg’s Jose Peraza (19) and Kyle Wren (17) are first and second in the league. As a team, the Blue Rocks are the most efficient squad on the basepaths in the Carolina League. The Rocks are 41-for-46 in steals this season. No other team in the league has been caught stealing fewer than eight times. Wilmington’s 41 thefts are tied with Myrtle Beach for second in the Carolina League. Lynchburg’s 49 is currently the league-leading total.

       

      Johermyn Chavez has been red-hot at the plate over his last eleven games. He has recorded hits in ten of those contests, while batting .357 (13-for-37) over that stretch. Chavez currently owns a six-game hitting streak. The slugging right fielder has homered twice, driven in seven, scored six runs and walked five times since Wilmington's May 2 game at Carolina. Chavez has seen his batting average rise from .173 to .232 during his current hot streak. His best contest of the campaign came on April 4 at Winston-Salem. Against the Dash, he went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBIs. Those four RBIs are still tied for an individual Blue Rocks season-high.

       

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “[Jonathan Dziedzic pitched a] very good game. Located his fastball, kept it down all night. The biggest thing is he was able to locate his curveball for a strike when he wanted to and he could bury it when he wanted to. He was mixing in the changeup. He pitched tonight.”

       

      “It was nice to get a two out RBI in that situation. We’re up, 2-0, we had first and second with nobody out, four five and six coming up, [Zane] Evans and [Johermyn] Chavez got out and Jack [Lopez] comes up with a clutch base hit. I was happy for him, especially after hitting the jack last night. He’s not a power hitter so I was kind of worried coming into today like, ‘Oh man, I hope he doesn’t start swinging for the fences.’ I was proud of him for going the other way and getting that big hit.”

       

      “They’re very close to getting it all together. Everybody always says ‘hitting is contagious,’ and it is. I think it’s the league. This league is a tough league. It’s very underrated when it comes to this league. In ’08 I was extremely impressed with it. You’ve got eight teams. You play each other a lot. You get to know hitters; you get to know the pitching. It’s a game of adjustments and we’re very close. We say that a lot, ‘Maybe one hit here or one hit here gets us rolling.’ It’s a matter of just grinding through it and learning the league, learning the pitchers and then we start putting it all together.”

       

      “We keep a chart of what we call ‘Quality Plate Appearances.’ It’s not necessarily a hit, it can be a hard hit ball. We go by that a lot. We’re the second youngest team in the league; Myrtle Beach is the only other team a little bit younger than us. We know they’re going to struggle. Our philosophy is to push them and help them get through that growing period a little sooner and get them going. We understand they’re going to struggle. It’s very nice to have a pitching staff that allows our offense to struggle but still keep us in the ballgame.”

       

      Second-Baseman Jack Lopez:

       

      “[The RBI at-bat] was key. You can’t be leaving runners out there, especially the way we’ve been swinging it lately. I was just looking for a ball over the plate. I know my first at-bat he was throwing away so I was looking for a pitch out over the plate and I was looking to hit it over the second baseman’s head and get an RBI.”

       

      “It was a really important run [in the eighth]. Being up by two, that one runs feels like five when you’re out there on defense. Nothing against our bullpen, they’re great. [Mark Peterson] is what 6-for-6, 7-for-7, in saves? You can’t get much better out there on the mound. That one run helps the team, a little less pressure on [Peterson].”

       

      Starting Pitcher Jonathan Dziedzic:

       

      “It wasn’t that much [disappointment over losing the perfect game]. I was just happy I didn’t walk the guy. I was able to force contact. I gave him something to hit and he hit it, that’s just part of it. I felt like he might have been trying to steal so I tried to pick him off.”

       

      “I always want to stay out as long as possible but we’ve got a great bullpen behind us so any time you can hand it off to them, you really don’t have to worry about much because you can give it to any of those guys out there and you know they’ll get the job taken care of. The sixth inning I just left the ball up, got behind some hitters and got into hitters counts. That’s just part of it, it happens.”

       

      “[Having the lead] felt great. Anytime you get any type of lead, it doesn’t have to be three or for runs, any type of lead you can relax a little bit more. Our hitters went out and put up four runs tonight so that made it a lot easier out there.”

       

      “Tonight, I think [Cam] Gallagher…had a really good game plan going in…Just mixing all three pitches well. The curveball came up later in the game, I was able to throw it more for strikes. Just locating the ball down, I think, is what really helped. Getting ahead of the hitters as well.”

       

      “[Making Salem earn its run is] why I was most pleased with no walks tonight, that’s the biggest thing. I just don’t like giving free passes so the fact that you go out there and make them earn it then you just tip your cap because they did what they had to do to score.”

       

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
      www.bluerocks.com

       

    • May 22, 2014 1:10 AM EDT
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      [Rocks Media] Blue Rocks Sweep Wednesday-Night Doubleheader Against        Mudcats

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WEDNESDAY MAY 21, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Blue Rocks Sweep Wednesday-Night Doubleheader Against Mudcats

      Rocks Return To .500 With Rout In The Opener And Walk-Off In The Nightcap

      Wilmington, DE – The Wilmington Blue Rocks climbed back to the .500 mark Wednesday night in dramatic fashion by sweeping a doubleheader against the Carolina Mudcats. Wilmington took the opener in a rout, 9-4, and then walked-off on Carolina in the nightcap, 3-2. The pair of victories brought the Blue Rocks’ record to 22-22 and helped the team establish a season-high four-game winning streak.

      Trailing, 2-1, and down to their final out in the seventh inning of game two, the Blue Rocks mounted a furious rally off of Mudcats closer Louis Head. Kenny Diekroeger began the comeback with a one-out single. After Terrance Gore struck out for the second out of the frame, Jack Lopez delivered a base hit to bring up Bubba Starling. Starling delivered his biggest hit of the season and smashed a triple to right-center field. The three-bagger plated Diekroeger from second and Lopez from first, giving Wilmington the 3-2 victory.

      The Blue Rocks first broke through against Carolina starter Clayton Cook in the sixth inning of game two. Cook held the Rocks off the scoreboard for the first five frames but, with one out in the sixth, Starling singled to left, ultimately leading to Wilmington’s first run of the ballgame. The speedy outfielder moved to second on a balk by Cook and scored on an RBI double from Zane Evans, drawing the Blue Crew to within one. Cook threw 5.2 innings and gave up one run on four hits.

      Carolina broke the nightcap’s scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning by scoring a pair of runs off of reliever Kyle Bartsch. Bartsch struggled with his command and, despite only yielding one hit, issued four free passes. The Mudcats took a 1-0 lead on an RBI walk from Todd Hankins and went ahead, 2-0, when Jeremy Lucas delivered an RBI groundout to first. Bartsch had entered the game in relief of starter Glenn Sparkman, who tossed 3.2 scoreless frames struck out six and gave up just three hits.

      Wednesday’s opener was decided very early on, when the Blue Rocks scored four times in the first inning off of Carolina starter Michael Peoples. Wilmington sent eight batters to the plate and five of the first seven reached. After a one-out single from Starling, Hunter Dozier ripped an RBI double into the left-field corner to give the Rocks a 1-0 lead. Michael Antonio followed Dozier’s two-bagger with a walk to put runners at first and second for Mark Donato, who singled home Dozier to make it 2-0. Daniel Rockett then struck out before Cam Gallagher delivered the big blow, a two-RBI double to left-center that plated Antonio and Donato.

      Wilmington kept the pressure on throughout Wednesday’s opener by adding a run in the second, a pair of runs in the fourth and two more tallies in the sixth. The back-breaker for Carolina was a two-run triple from Daniel Rockett in the sixth that plated both Starling and Dozier.

      Starting pitcher Sean Manaea pitched five innings for the Blue Rocks in the first game and missed a lot of bats. Though the 6-foot-5 lefty did yield three runs, he struck out 10, tying a Blue Rocks individual season-high set by Christian Binford on April 12 against the Winston-Salem Dash. Carolina scored runs in the first, second and fifth against Manaea, but the only major mistake the southpaw made came in the fifth, when Jeremy Lucas launched a solo blast to left.

      For Wilmington, Manaea (2-2, 5.40) was victorious in game one while Johnny Walter (2-0, 2.35) picked up the win in game two. Michael Peoples (2-4, 6.48) absorbed the loss in the opener for the Mudcats, while Louis Head (0-2) suffered the defeat and blew his first save in the nightcap.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Thursday morning at Frawley Stadium to try and complete a four-game sweep of the Carolina Mudcats. Wilmington will send southpaw Daniel Stumpf (1-6, 4.01) to the mound while lefty Ryan Merritt (5-1, 1.65) will take the bump for Carolina. First pitch is slated for 10:35 a.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      Bubba Starling’s two-run, walk-off, triple gave Wilmington its third walk-off victory of the year. All three walk-off wins have been at Frawley Stadium and each has been filled with a different kind of drama. On May 12, Jack Lopez ripped a two-run homer to left that gave the Blue Rocks a 4-3 victory over the Salem Red Sox. The Blue Crew’s April 27 walk-off against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans featured one of the most bizarre plays anyone had ever seen. With Terrance Gore at third, Raul Mondesi struck out, but reached on a dropped-third strike. That allowed Gore to sprint home from third and score the winning run. Catcher Jorge Alfaro attempted to tag Gore instead of throwing to first, but missed the tag, allowing Mondesi to reach and Gore to score the winning run.

      Bubba Starling also extended his hitting streak to a personal and team-high 10 games Wednesday night with base hits in both ends of the doubleheader. Starling went 1-for-2 with a pair of runs and a hit-by-pitch in the opener. In the nightcap, he finished 2-for-4 and delivered a two-run, walk-off triple. During Starling's ten-game hitting streak, he is batting .343 (12-for-35) with 10 runs, a double, five walks and six RBIs. His batting average has steadily risen over the stretch from .149 to .190. Entering play Wednesday, Starling had been tied with Hunter Dozier and Johermyn Chavez for the Blue Rocks’ longest hitting streak of the season with eight.

      Over the course of Tuesday night’s game and Wednesday night’s opener, Hunter Dozier managed to reach base in nine consecutive plate appearances. The right-handed hitting third baseman went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks and two runs Tuesday, reaching base a season-best five times. In Wednesday’s opener, Dozier was 2-for-2 at the plate with two more free passes and three more runs. Dozier now has eight multi-hit contests on the campaign, three of which have been three-hit games. In the nightcap Wednesday, Dozier went 0-for-3 at the plate. During this current stretch, his batting average has risen from .230 to .252. Entering play on Tuesday, he had slumped to a .086 (3-for-35) average since May 7. Dozier is hitting .313 on the road but just .197 at home.

      Glenn Sparkman made the first start of his professional career in Wednesday's nightcap. He was outstanding, tossing 3.2 scoreless frames and punching out six. Sparkman gave up just three hits and one walk but took a no-decision. The right-hander now owns a sparkling 1.98 ERA to go along with his 2-1 record. Sparkman had been one of Wilmington's most reliable relievers this season, posting a 2-1 record and a 2.28 ERA in 11 relief appearances. He has now completed two or more frames in nine of the 12 total games he's appeared in. Following the conclusion of Wednesday’s doubleheader, manager Darryl Kennedy announced that, for now, Sparkman will continue to be used as a starter and in piggyback situations.

      In 2014, the Wilmington Blue Rocks have dominated the Carolina Mudcats more than any other team in the Carolina League. In nine games against the Mudcats, the Blue Crew has compiled a 7-2 record, a 3.20 ERA and a .262 team batting average. The wins have come in bunches for the Rocks, both at Frawley Stadium and at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina. Wilmington is now 4-1 against Carolina at home and 3-1 against the Mudcats on the road. Against the Mudcats this year, Hunter Dozier is batting .500 (15-for-30), Raul Mondesi is hitting .381 (8-for-21), Zane Evans is batting .333 (10-for-30), and Bubba Starling is hitting .294 (10-for-34). Mondesi has not appeared in the current series as he continues to recover from minor back spasms over the weekend.

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “The last four games have been outstanding. They’re really starting to swing the bat well. Bubba [Starling] is seeing the ball well. Zane [Evans] is hitting the ball hard. [Hunter] Dozier is right there too, he’s getting hot. Hopefully that’s a sign of good things to come.”

       

      “With Sean [Manaea], there’s still more in there. He battled through those five innings tonight. The good thing is he’s got the stuff where he cannot be as sharp and still get guys out. I truly believe there’s better things to come for Sean. He’s just got to get a little more consistent in the zone. He’s got no experience. Drafted last year but he didn’t pitch at all. Really, this is his first true test of competition. For the most part, I think he’s done a very good job. [Glenn] Sparkman, [in] his first start in professional baseball, I thought he threw the ball well. We had him on a limited pitch count because it was his first start. Just because he only went 3.2 it is not indicative of what he did, it’s just limiting his pitches. He threw the ball well like he’s done all year for us. He was a big part of our bullpen at the beginning of the year. My hat’s off to both of those guys. They kept us in the ballgame.”

       

      “[Johnny Walter has] done a very good job. Starting the year off on the DL and then getting him activated. He’s pitched some big innings for us. With the low amount of innings he has had, they’ve been pretty big innings for us. He’s come in in some tough situations and done a good job. The bullpen, in general, has been really good for us.”

       

      Center-Fielder Bubba Starling:

       

      “[The walk-off triple] was a fastball away and I just threw my hands out. 2-2, he threw a slider three pitches before that. Like I said, I was just staying on the fastball…I knew Lopez was hopefully getting home and that was the end of it.”

      “The pitchers have been pretty solid all year and it makes it easy on us outfielders. It was nice to get some hits there towards the end and in the first game, all of us up and down the order. Just takes the pressure off of them a little bit to get some runs.”

       

      “Our bats are starting to come back. Before these last couple of games we were having four, five, six hits a game and we had ten the last few times. We’re battling up there but definitely feeling better.”

       

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
      www.bluerocks.com

       

    • May 22, 2014 6:25 PM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY MAY 22, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Blue Rocks Drop Series Finale Against Carolina

      Wilmington’s Bid For Its First Sweep Of The Season Falls Short

       

      Wilmington, DE - Wilmington’s bid for a four-game sweep of the Carolina Mudcats came up short Sunday, as the Blue Rocks dropped the series finale, 3-2. The loss ended Wilmington’s season-best four-game winning streak and spoiled a chance to get back over .500 for the first time since April 5. The Blue Crew’s record now sits at 22-23 on the season.

       

      The Rocks struck first and took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly hit down the line in right by Hunter Dozier. The sacrifice fly plated Jack Lopez, who had reached on an error by third-baseman James Roberts to lead off the game. Lopez then advanced from first to third on a base hit by Bubba Starling before Dozier drove him home.

       

      In the third inning, Wilmington extended its lead to 2-0, as the same trio of hitters came through for the second time in as many tries. Lopez led off the frame with a single and moved to third on a bloop single from Starling. Dozier plated Lopez again with another sacrifice fly.

       

      With the Blue Rocks leading, 2-0, Carolina stormed back into the ballgame by putting three runs on the board in the top of the fourth inning. Jerrod Sabourin and Luigi Rodriguez hit back-to-back singles with one out in the frame to put runners at first and second. Alex Monsalve then grounded back to starting pitcher Daniel Stumpf, who looked to third and threw to first instead of gunning to second base to start a double-play. Despite recording the second out of the frame, that mistake proved costly because James Roberts, Torsten Boss and Todd Hankins hit three consecutive singles to put Carolina ahead for good, 3-2.

       

      Despite allowing three runs in the fourth and taking his seventh loss of the season, Stumpf (1-7, 4.19) pitched a good game for the Rocks. He allowed only those three runs on nine hits through five innings. However, Carolina starter Ryan Merritt (6-1, 1.60) was even better. The southpaw tossed 7.1 sterling frames and gave up two runs, one of which was earned, on six hits. Elvis Araujo threw 1.2 scoreless innings in relief to earn his third save.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Friday night at Frawley Stadium as they open up a four-game series with the Frederick Keys. Wilmington will send right-hander Miguel Almonte (2-2, 5.52) to the mound in the series opener. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      Bubba Starling extended his hitting streak to a new personal and team-high 11 games Thursday morning with a pair of singles against the Mudcats. Starling went 2-for-4 Thursday and sent Jack Lopez from first to third with each base hit, which led to both Wilmington runs. During Starling's 11-game hitting streak, he is batting .359 (14-for-39) with 10 runs, a double, five walks and nine RBIs. His batting average has steadily risen over the stretch from .149 to .197. Both Hunter Dozier and the recently-released Johermyn Chavez own the second-longest hitting streaks for Wilmington. Each recorded hits in eight straight earlier on this season.

      Thursday morning’s contest was a triumphant return to Wilmington for Tyler Chism, as the outfielder went 2-for-4 at the plate in his return to the Blue Rocks from Low-A Lexington. Chism began the year on the Blue Crew roster and played in two games before being placed on the Disabled List April 9. The right-handed hitter had been 2-for-2 at the plate with a double prior to being sidelined. Both of hits were recorded April 6 against the Winston-Salem Dash. Chism remained on the Disabled List for exactly one month before being re-activated May 9. However, he was transferred to Low-A Lexington the following day when infielder Michael Antonio was transferred to Lexington to Wilmington. With the Legends, Chism played in nine games and posted a .267 batting average with two homers, two doubles and four RBIs. Chism was brought back to Wilmington Wednesday, when the Royals released Johermyn Chavez.

      Reliever Ali Williams was downright dominant out of the bullpen Thursday for the Blue Rocks. Williams tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief after Daniel Stumpf left the ballgame. The right-hander did not allow a hit and punched out six, tying both his personal season-high and Wilmington’s season high in strikeouts by a reliever. Williams also accomplished his feat on May 18 against the Lynchburg Hillcats, when he tossed three innings and gave up a run. The second-year Blue Rock now owns a stellar 1.88 ERA over 12 outings this season and has been a strikeout machine. He has struck out 37 batters in 24 innings pitched. Williams still has not allowed more than one run in any of his outings this season. Over his last three outings, Williams has thrown a combined 8.2 innings and given up one run on one hit while striking out 17.

      Wilmington was 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in Thursday morning’s contest against the Mudcats. The Blue Crew also left a runner at second base with less than two outs in the seventh, the eighth and the ninth innings. This was a departure from the first three games against Carolina, where the Rocks had shown significant improvement in that category. During the first three games of the series, the Blue Rocks hit a combined .322 (10-for-31) with runners in scoring position. On the year, Wilmington is now batting .196 (80-for-409) with runners in scoring position.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “It’s been a long 24 hours, no doubt. We made a couple of mental mistakes today in that [fourth] inning when they got the three runs that really cost us the ballgame. That kind of outweighs everything else right now, in my mind. You just can’t make those kinds of mistakes…[Daniel Stumpf’s look to third and throw to first was] the big mental mistake. We’ve got to throw that ball to second and get a double play. There is never an option to go to third on that. Go to second, get a double play and we’re out of the inning. That cost us three runs right there, but it happens. That was a big inning and that hurt us a bit.”

      “It’s very hard to sweep teams, very hard. I’ll take three out of four any day at home. You win three out of four you’re going to have a pretty good season. We just have to win series and take that approach, just keep winning series.”

      Starting-Pitcher Daniel Stumpf:

      “I made a crucial mistake that cost us the game. I don’t know why I even went to third. I should have just turned and gone [to second]. It was a big mistake, it’s bad on my part, it gave the lead away and [it] lost the ballgame for us.”

       “[In the early-going], I feel like I was down in the zone; that helped me out. My changeup was a little up. My defense was battling for me, for sure. They made some great plays out there. [Michael] Antonio squared up the ball a few times, just couldn’t get it to fall. Bubba [Starling] made some great adjustments at the plate, took it the other way and had a few drop in. [Hunter] Dozier made some great hits to score Jack [Lopez] on it. I just made a bad mistake and it cost us the game.”

      Third-Baseman Hunter Dozier:

      “We feel good after this series [and] we definitely got the bats going. When we were behind in the games we showed that we can come back and walk it off. That’s a good sign, that we can battle back, and also jump out to early leads.”

      “It’s good to see. I don’t know how many games we’ve lost with one run. Now we’re starting to win games in the bottom of the ninth…It’s good to see us battling back and not giving up and just fighting hard. We’re playing good baseball right now.

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
      www.bluerocks.com

       

    • May 29, 2014 1:14 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

       

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WEDNESDAY MAY 28, 2014

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Blue Rocks Blank Carolina For Second Straight Night

      Wilmington Staff Has Strung Together 24 Consecutive Scoreless Innings

      Zebulon, NC – For a second consecutive night the Wilmington Blue Rocks pitching staff flummoxed the Carolina offense at Five County Stadium.  Miguel Almonte, Kyle Bartsch and Mark Peterson combined on a five-hit shutout as Wilmington blanked the Mudcats, 3-0.  The Rocks have now gone 24 consecutive innings without allowing a run, have won nine of their last 11 games and are a season-high three games above .500 (27-24). The victory also allowed the Blue Crew to remain in sole possession of first place in the Carolina League North, one-half game in front of the Lynchburg Hillcats.

      Almonte (3-2) was the story.  Wilmington's Opening Day starter worked a season-high 6.1 frames.  The right-hander did not walk a single batter, and enjoyed his best fastball command of the season.  With velocity in the mid-90's all night, Almonte fanned seven and yielded just five hits.  It was his longest outing since he went a career-high 7.2 innings on June 25 of last season at Low-A Lexington.

      He gave way to Bartsch after a one-out double in the seventh.  The lefty stranded that inherited runner and then worked a scoreless eighth.  Peterson came on in the ninth to record his 10th save in as many tries.

      Wilmington got all of its offense in the second inning.  Cody Stubbs and Daniel Rockett got things started with a pair of one-out singles.  That set up Kenny Diekroeger, who laced an RBI liner to left.  No one covered third base for the Mudcats, so when Rockett tried to go from first to third LaVon Washington's throw to the bag resulted in an error that allowed Rockett to get up and score.  Terrance Gore followed with a grounder to second that Todd Hankins booted, allowing Diekroeger to score.  The Mudcats finished the night with five defensive miscues.

      The Blue Rocks go for the sweep on Thursday night in Zebulon. Wilmington will send southpaw Jonathan Dziedzic (5-2, 2.27) to the mound, while Carolina will counter with lefty Shawn Morimando (1-4, 4.60). First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Rocks return to Frawley on June 3, when the Potomac Nationals visit town for a three-game set. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      The Carolina League announced on Tuesday that infielder Hunter Dozier was the league's Player of the Week for May 19-25.  Over seven games last week, Dozier went 11-for-20 (.550) with four doubles and four RBIs. The 6-foot-4 infielder scored eight runs while also drawing six free passes and stealing a base. Dozier raised his batting average from .246 to .271 during that stretch.  At one point he reached base in nine consecutive plate appearances.  On Tuesday Dozier picked up right where he left off with two hits, two runs and an RBI. Things did not go as smoothly on Wednesday.  The infielder was hit by a pitch in the left hand and then injured his right hand trying to slide into second base on a subsequent stolen base attempt.  Dozier was taken out of the game, but X-Rays proved negative.  He is day-to-day.

      Wilmington's bullpen continues to be the strength of its team in 2014.  As a unit, Rocks relievers have now tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings and have posted an 11-5 overall mark with a 2.43 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 172.1 innings pitched.  Mark Peterson has worked 21 consecutive innings without allowing a run.  He has walked just eight batters in 16 appearances this season and leads the Carolina League with 10 saves in as many tries.  His ERA on the season is down to 0.79.

      Wilmington's 3-0 triumph on Wednesday marked the Rocks' fourth shutout of the season and their second straight.  The Blue Crew blanked the Winston-Salem Dash in two consecutive games on April 11 and 12, something Wilmington had not accomplished since turning in four straight shutouts in 2009.  The Rocks have the second-most shutouts in the Carolina League this season behind only Salem, which leads the loop with six blankings this year.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “I'm very pleased with the way we are playing right now.  Everything is starting to come together.  Our offense has been very good and very consistent over the last week-and-a-half.  Then what's great about it is when our offense isn't putting up many runs, our pitching has been on top of its game.  That's how you get a streak going.  Right now they're playing with a lot of confidence and really good things are happening."

      "Tonight Miguel Almonte pitched a very good ballgame.  He commanded the fastball better than he has all year, and that's what we have been harping on with him.  He knows he has great breaking stuff and offspeed stuff, but he's got to be able to command the fastball to get them off of that.  Tonight he did exactly that.  He was able to locate his fastball to get ahead in the count, and then put them away with that outstanding curveball and changeup."

      "I try not to think about their club too much.  My priority is to worry about our guys because I'm not smart enough to take care of both teams.  But the one thing you always expect when a team is in a funk is that they're going to be really aggressive."

      "Hunter Dozier is fine.  They went and got X-Rays because he slid into the guys foot and everything was negative in both hands, because he got hit by the pitch too.  He'll probably be a little sore [Wednesday]. We'll see how he is, but he'll probably take a day off or so."

      "It was good to see [Raul Mondesi] back in the lineup.  Twelve days without seeing any kind of pitching is a long stretch.  He went up there and was a little hyped up, trying to do a little too much and over-swinging.  But he'll be fine.  We've got to have him in that lineup, especially at shortstop.  He brings an awful lot to the table defensively for our club.  He'll be fine."

       

      Catcher Zane Evans:

      “That was Miguel Almonte's best outing of the year for sure.  Some guys in the dugout started talking in maybe like the fourth inning about how nasty his stuff looked.  He was really hitting the spots.  I could put down anything and he was just painting corners.  He was throwing the ball pretty hard, the changeup was nasty and the curveball he struggled with a little bit early, but even that came around." 

      "When he is locating his fastball it makes it so difficult on the hitter.  His ball is not flat by any means.  He's sitting at 95 [MPH] with really late sink on it and then when he has two other pitches that he can throw for strikes  it makes it really tough for the guy at the plate.  I mean you can't really sit up there and wait on a certain pitch because he can throw anything at the moment."

      "We've been playing pretty well as of late.  I think there's a confidence with us right now.  Anytime you can win a series it's pretty good-- especially in this league where everybody's around .500 right now.  Whenever you can get a series win and then go for the sweep you know you're doing something right and we've been that position more frequently lately.  It definitely helps you relax on getaway day that's for sure.  But I'm happy with how we're playing right now.  We just need to keep it up, keep the momentum going and try and win this first half."

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
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    • May 30, 2014 12:33 AM EDT
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      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY MAY 29, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Four-Run Carolina Fifth Spoils Rocks’ Bid For Sweep

      Blue Crew Led, 4-1, Entering The Frame

       

      Zebulon, NC – A four-run fifth inning propelled the Carolina Mudcats to a 6-4 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks Thursday night at Five County Stadium, as the Rocks’ bid for their first series sweep of the season fell short again. With the defeat, Wilmington fell back to two games above .500, at 27-25. The loss also dropped the Blue Crew into second place in the Carolina League Northern Division, a half-game behind the Lynchburg Hillcats.

       

      The Rocks led, 4-1, entering the fifth inning of play. However, the first four Mudcats to come to the plate against Jonathan Dziedzic in the frame singled, setting up Carolina’s big four-run rally. The fourth base hit was an RBI single by Yhoxian Medina to make the score 4-2, Wilmington. RBI singles by Todd Hankins and Erik Gonzalez plated two more and, by the end of the frame, Carolina led, 5-4.

       

      Dziedzic worked 4.1 innings on the mound for the Blue Rocks and allowed five runs on seven hits while punching out four. 

       

      Wilmington jumped out to an early 3-0 lead by scoring three times in the first inning off of Adam Plutko, who was making his Advanced-A debut for Carolina. With one out in the frame, Jack Lopez drew a walk to kick-start Wilmington’s offense. Bubba Starling then singled and Michael Antonio doubled. Antonio’s two-bagger drove home Lopez and moved Starling to third, giving the Rocks a 1-0 lead. Cody Stubbs then singled to plate both Starling and Antonio, making it 3-0, Blue Crew.

       

      Carolina scored its first run of the ballgame in the second inning. Jeremy Lucas led off the frame with a double and moved to third on a groundout by Alex Monsalve. Lucas scored on an RBI groundout by Luigi Rodriguez to draw the Mudcats within 3-1.

       

      Stubbs went deep off of Plutko in the fourth to put the Blue Rocks up, 4-1, before the Mudcats’ fifth-inning rally.

      Dziedzic (5-3, 2.94) suffered the loss for Wilmington while Plutko (1-0, 6.00) earned his first win for Carolina. Louis Head picked up his ninth save of the year for the Mudcats with a perfect ninth.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Friday night in Frederick as they open up another four-game series with the Keys. Wilmington will send righty Christian Binford (3-2, 2.21) to the mound, while Frederick will counter with right-hander Parker Bridwell (1-6, 5.13). First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Rocks return to Frawley on June 3, when the Potomac Nationals visit town for a three-game set. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

       

      Thursday night’s contest at Carolina was Raul Mondesi’s first game in the field since the nightcap of a doubleheader on May 16 against Lynchburg. The 18-year-old shortstop missed 11 games because of back spasms and returned to the lineup as the designated hitter on Wednesday. In Mondesi’s first two games back, he is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts. Mondesi was Wilmington’s most consistent hitter in the month of April, hitting .304 (24-for-79) for the month. However, it has been a rough month of May for him. Since the calendar flipped to the campaign’s second month, Mondesi has batted just .162 (11-for-68). 

       

      Cody Stubbs went 3-for-4 at the plate Thursday night with a run and three RBIs against the Mudcats. One of those hits was his fourth homer of the season. That long ball gave Stubbs sole possession of the Blue Rocks’ team lead. The left-handed hitting first baseman has hit three homers this week over the span of six games. He had not hit a homer since April 4 at Winston-Salem. The first dinger he hit this week came on Saturday against the Frederick Keys. Stubbs poked a ball down the left-field line that just stayed fair for a three-run blast in Wilmington’s 8-4 win over the Keys. In the series finale against Frederick on Monday, Stubbs launched a long ball deep to right field at Frawley Stadium. The Rocks lost that one 6-3. Stubbs is 9-for-15 at the plate with four runs, three homers and nine RBIs since May 24.

      Wilmington pitching saw its 25.1-inning scoreless streak snapped when the Carolina Mudcats scored a run in the second inning of Thursday night’s contest. Entering play Thursday night, the Blue Rocks were riding back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season. Wilmington's 3-0 triumph on Wednesday marked the Rocks' fourth shutout of the year. The Blue Crew blanked the Winston-Salem Dash in two consecutive games on April 11 and 12, something Wilmington had not accomplished since turning in four straight shutouts in 2009. The Rocks have the second-most shutouts in the Carolina League this season behind only Salem, which leads the league with six blankings this year.

      Wilmington's bullpen continues to be the strength of its team in 2014. However, the Rocks’ relievers saw their 16-inning scoreless streak snapped Thursday. Yender Caramo yielded one run on two hits over 2.2 innings pitched in relief of Jonathan Dziedzic. In Thursday’s contest, Daniel Stumpf also made his second relief appearance of the season. The southpaw tossed a scoreless inning but allowed two hits. As a unit, the Wilmington ‘pen has posted an 11-5 overall mark with a 2.45 ERA and 177 strikeouts in 176 innings pitched. Closer Mark Peterson, who did not appear in Wednesday’s contest, has worked 21 consecutive innings without allowing a run. He has walked just eight batters in 16 appearances this season and leads the Carolina League with 10 saves in as many tries. His ERA on the season is 0.79.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “We stayed too predictable and stayed on the outside part of the plate and the hitters made the adjustment and decided they were going to go the other way on him and we were never able pitch inside and get them off the plate enough. They just started diving and tip your hat to them. They made the adjustment on [Jonathan] Dziedzic and Dziedzic never changed the way he was pitching. They made him pay for it.”

      “The thing is, when you face guys in this league, you’re going to face them two, three, four times. You’re going to have to play a little chess game with them. That’s any league. Baseball is a big chess game. They’ve got to make the adjustment, then you’ve got to make the adjustment to them. You’ve got to battle through that all year and that’s the one thing that, I think, with Dziedzic, we’ve been talking to him about using both sides of the plate. Hopefully, now, he’ll start commanding that inside of the plate a little better.

      [Cody Stubbs] has been swinging well. That kid works hard, no doubt about it. He comes to the cage every day and works with Milt [Thompson] early. He takes his BP seriously. He really gets after it. There’s one guy out there that comes to play every day and comes to work every day and that’s Cody Stubbs. It’s paying off. He’s putting good swings on the ball and the way guys were getting him out two weeks ago, now they’re not able to get him out. I think he hit a changeup out tonight that he’d been swinging through a lot. Kudos to him and he deserves it, he works hard…We knew he could go [to the outfield]. In spring training we talked about him possibly being an extra outfielder for us. Tonight, I just wanted to try and get as many lefties in the lineup as I could against this right-hander. I looked up his stats and lefties seem to have success against him and that was my thinking behind that.”

      First-Baseman Cody Stubbs:

      “I just want to go out there every day and give it everything I’ve got and let the chips fall where they may. At the end of the day, at least it lets me know I’ve tried to do everything I could to help the team win that day and prepare myself for the game.”

      “It’s funny. It can be one little small thing in baseball and that’s what it was. I changed one little thing and it’s working right now so I’m going to stick with it…it was just one little thing with my leg, just getting me going before the pitch was coming. It’s working right now so I’m not going to change that.”

      “We’re playing very solid. It’s tough to sweep anybody. You learn that in college. It’s not easy to beat a team three times in a row. I think we’re rolling pretty good. It’s getting down the home stretch of this first half, so hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”

       

    • May 31, 2014 1:04 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

       

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY MAY 30, 2014

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Binford Struggles As Rocks Drop Opener In Frederick

      Wilmington Starter Yields Five In Just Four Innings To Take Loss

      Frederick, MD – For the second straight night a normally dependable starting pitcher endured a rough evening for the Wilmington Blue Rocks.  Just 24 hours after Jonathan Dziedzic surrendered five runs and was chased with one out in the fifth inning by the Carolina Mudcats, Christian Binford turned in his shortest outing of the season, allowing five runs in just four frames of an 8-1 loss to the Frederick Keys.  The loss dropped Wilmington back to a single game above .500 (27-26) and in second place in the Carolina League North.

      Binford (3-3) yielded eight hits as he suffered his first loss since May 14.  The right-hander allowed two runs in the second and then gave up four straight hits and added an errant pickoff throw during a three-run fourth.  The long frame ended his outing, which was his shortest since April 12, 2013 when he was pitching for Low-A Lexington.  Unfortunately for Binford, the unusually subpar outing came in front of a huge throng of friends and family from his hometown, which is located less than 30 minutes from Harry Grove Stadium.

      Adrian Marin was the biggest thorn in Binford's side.  The Frederick shortstop got two hits and drove in three runs against the righty.  He finished the night 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs.  The Keys did most of their damage courtesy of one four-hitter segment of their lineup.  Frederick's four-through seven hitters, Zane Chavez, Wynston Sawyer, Creede Simpson and Marin combined for eight hits, five runs, and seven RBIs in the Keys triumph. Frederick's 15 knocks as a team were the most allowed by the Blue Crew all season.

      Wilmington got its lone run in the top of the fourth.  Hunter Dozier opened the frame with a double to the left-field corner, moved to third on a fly ball off the bat of Zane Evans and came home on an RBI grounder to short by Cody Stubbs.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Saturday night in Frederick as they contniue their four-game series with the Keys. Wilmington will send righty Luis Santos to the mound in his Advanced-A debut, while Frederick will counter with right-hander Joe Van Meter (1-0, 3.20). First pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Rocks return to Frawley on June 3, when the Potomac Nationals visit town for a three-game set. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      In his third game back after missing almost two full weeks with back spasms, Raul Mondesi got his first hit since May 16. The 18-year-old shortstop was absent for 11 games due to the injury and had gone 0-or-8 with four strikeouts in his first two contests back. He finished Friday 1-for-4 with two punchouts. Mondesi was Wilmington’s most consistent hitter in the month of April, hitting .304 (24-for-79) for the month. However, it has been a rough month of May for him. Since the calendar flipped to the campaign’s second month, Mondesi has batted just .167 (12-for-72).

      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate on offense.  Despite missing Thursday's game because he was hit by a pitch in the left hand and then injured his right hand trying to slide into second base on a subsequent stolen base attempt in Wednesday's win at Carolina, Dozier went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and scored the Rocks' only run on Friday.  Dozier went for X-Rays on Wednesday, which proved negative, allowing the reigning Carolina League Player of the Week to pick up right where he left off.  Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 draft is hitting .441 (15-for-34) with six doubles, five RBIs and 11 runs scored. He continues to excel outside of the First State, batting .329 on the road this year as opposed to just .226 at home.

      After Friday's 8-1 loss against Frederick (the Rocks' second straight to the Keys), Wilmington is now 8-8 in 2014 against the Carolina League Northern Division. However, Monday's contest was just the team's fifth against a division foe other than the Lynchburg Hillcats. In an odd scheduling quirk, Wilmington has only faced nearby division rival Frederick five times, with just one of the games coming at Harry Grove Stadium.  The Rocks have still yet to play the Potomac Nationals. Wilmington won't do battle against Potomac until a rare home-and-home leads to six straight games with the Nationals, June 3-8.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      [Christian Binford] was up in the zone and he couldn't seem to get the ball down, and they made him pay for it.  That's the one thing we talked about before the game, these guys can hit fastballs and if you leave the ball up they're going to make you pay for it.  I know he had a lot of people in the stands [Friday] and I think maybe he got a little out of his game.  He might've been a little too amped up pitching in front of his home crowd sort to speak.  That can be a real tough deal.  Sometimes it's a good thing, but sometimes it doesn't work out so good and then it really eats at you.  but you've got to go through that, because no matter where you play eventually someone is going to come see you.  Besides all that though, he just had a bad outing.  As many good outings as he had strung together he was due for something like this and unfortunately it came tonight."

      "We got beat tonight, there's no doubt about it.  Everything they did was right.  We jam a guy, he hits the ball up the third-base line for a hit.  They get a chopper up the middle off the pitcher's glove, a bad-hop on a ball right at Jack [Lopez].  It's baseball.  Things like that happen on a given night and we just got beat."

      "[Parker Bridwell] pitched well tonight for Frederick.  The thing he did well was get guys out with runners on base.  He did whatever he had to do to get the batter out.  He kept us off balance all night, he didn't give us many pitches to hit and he didn't miss his spot too much.  The kid pitched really well and you have to tip your cap to him."

      "Hunter Dozier's swinging the bat well right now.  He's seeing the ball well and then putting good contact on it.  He's a ballplayer.  He wants to be in the lineup no matter what.  Before the game I was joking with him like, 'how's your hand?' You could tell he was itching to get back in the lineup.  He's swinging the bat well and is such an important part of our lineup so we are happy he's ready to go.

      "The one thing you have to remember about [Raul Mondesi] is that he's only 18 years old and is going through something that he never has his whole life.  These guys are making good pitches on him and are exploiting some weaknesses.  He's going to get through this.  The good thing is he's able to stay above water because of his speed.  He got the infield single tonight off the pitcher's glove and those are key when you're struggling.  When you're a guy who can't really run down the line you don't get stuff like that.  He'll be okay.  He's a little rusty from the layoff, but I expect he'll get going again.  He's a big catalyst for us."

      Starting Pitcher Christian Binford:

      “This was all on me.  I was up in the zone, I couldn't get ahead of guys and was frustrated all night.  Usually I can make an adjustment and tonight, for whatever reason, I just didn't.  It was just such an off night. Things weren't going my way.  I made a bad pickoff throw, I get a groundball double play that takes a terrible hop and [Jack Lopez at second base] just had no shot because it hit the lip on him.  Things weren't going our way and Frederick had a really good night.  That's a tough combo."

      "Not many guys get the chance to come back and pitch professionally right near your hometown.  It meant so much to me, especially because there were hundreds of people here that I know aren't just supporting me because I play baseball.  These people would be out supporting me no matter what I did.  Being able to see them and show that I know where I came from, and to return some of the love to them, I couldn't possibly ask for anything better."

       

    • May 31, 2014 11:52 PM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SATURDAY MAY 31, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Santos Impressive In Debut But Wilmington Drops Third Straight

      Rocks Starter Takes No-Hitter Into Sixth Inning But Frederick Offense Heats Up Late

       

      Frederick, MD – Wilmington starter Luis Santos took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but it was not enough to carry the Blue Rocks to victory on Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Frederick scored two runs in the sixth, went ahead with one in the seventh and then got two critical insurance tallies in the eighth on the way to a 5-4 triumph for the Keys. The loss was Wilmington's third straight and it dropped them back to .500 (27-27) on the season.

       

      Santos retired the first 13 batters he faced in his Advanced-A debut, and did not yield a hit until there was one out in the sixth. Jerome Pena sent a bouncer to first that took a bad hop on Cody Stubbs, allowing Pena to reach safely. It was originally scored an error, but later changed to a hit.  That seemed to spur the Keys, as everything unraveled on the Blue Crew. Frederick would score twice in the frame to tie the game, 2-2. The first run came across on an RBI groundout by Brenden Webb while the second scored on a passed ball by Cam Gallagher.

       

      Southpaw Kyle Bartsch replaced Santos on the mound in the seventh inning and things unraveled further for the Blue Crew. With one out in the inning, Adrian Marin poked a solo blast to right, giving the Keys a 3-2 lead, their first of the ballgame. Bartsch allowed two more runs to cross the plate in the eighth inning, as Frederick extended its lead to 5-2. The first came on a solo homer to right by Webb and the second on an RBI single by Creede Simpson.

       

      The Blue Rocks mounted a late rally in the ninth inning, scoring twice and putting the tying run on base. Tyler Chism walked with one out in the frame and Gallagher doubled him home to make it 5-3. After Kenny Diekroeger struck out swinging, Daniel Rockett’s pinch-hit RBI single plated Gallagher, drawing the Rocks to within 5-4. Raul Mondesi thenlined out to end the game.

       

      Wilmington took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Terrance Gore walked and then stole second base. Raul Mondesi then walked to put runners at first and second for Hunter Dozier, who doubled to drive them both in.

      Joe Van Meter (2-0, 3.04) picked up his second win of the campaign for Frederick while Bartsch (3-3, 3.60) absorbed his third defeat. Matt Hobgood earned his second save.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Sunday in Frederick as they continue their four-game series with the Keys. Wilmington will send southpaw Sean Manaea (2-3, 4.91) to the mound, while Frederick will counter with right-hander Mark Blackmar (2-1, 4.97). First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Rocks return to Frawley on June 3, when the Potomac Nationals visit town for a three-game set. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      After Saturday’s 5-4 loss at Frederick, the Rocks' third straight to the Keys, Wilmington is now 8-9 in 2014 against the Carolina League Northern Division. However, Saturday's contest was just the team's sixth against a division foe other than the Lynchburg Hillcats. In an odd scheduling quirk, Wilmington has only faced nearby division rival Frederick six times, with just two of the games coming at Harry Grove Stadium.  The Rocks have still yet to play the Potomac Nationals. Wilmington won't do battle against Potomac until a rare home-and-home leads to six straight games with the Nationals, June 3-8.

      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate on offense.  Despite missing Thursday's game because he was hit by a pitch in the left hand and then injured his right hand trying to slide into second base on a subsequent stolen base attempt in Wednesday's win at Carolina, Dozier went 1-for-4 with two RBIs Saturday.  The third-baseman went for X-Rays on Wednesday, which proved negative, allowing the reigning Carolina League Player of the Week to pick up right where he left off.  Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 draft is hitting .421 (16-for-38) with seven doubles, seven RBIs and 11 runs scored. He continues to excel outside of the First State, batting .325 on the road this year as opposed to just .226 at home. Overall, his average sits at .272 on the season.

      Saturday night’s contest in Frederick was the longest the Blue Rocks have gone without allowing a hit since August 24, 2013. That night, southpaw Sam Selman threw eight hitless innings against the Potomac Nationals before hitting his pitch count, which forced manager Vance Wilson to remove him from the ballgame. Andrew Edwards replaced him and allowed a double to Cutter Dykstra, ending Wilmington’s bid for a combined no-hitter. Selman did not allow a baserunner until the fifth inning and did not yield a free pass until the sixth. The Blue Crew won that game, 1-0, on a Sam Bates sacrifice fly in the top of the 10thinning.

      Terrance Gore and Kenny Diekroeger both swiped a bag Saturday night, increasing Wilmington’s total on the season to 59. The Rocks are second in the Carolina League in steals but first in efficiency; the Blue Crew has been caught just 10 times on the basepaths in 2014. No other Carolina League team has been caught less than 13 times. Gore is now 16-for-17 in the stolen-base department, giving him the Blue Rocks team lead. That total also ties him for third in the league behind Lynchburg’s duo of Jose Peraza (26) and Kyle Wren (24). Jack Lopez is second on the team with 10 thefts, while Bubba Starling ranks third with nine. Raul Mondesi is fourth with eight steals and Diekroeger’s six tie him with Hunter Dozier for fifth.

      Wilmington’s season-long struggles with runners in scoring position have reared their head once again over the last two games. In the first two games of its current series with Frederick, the Blue Crew is just 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position. The Rocks have stranded a combined total of 13 baserunners between the two contests. On the campaign, Wilmington is batting just .202 (102-for-506) with runners in scoring position.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “You have got to tip your hat to them. They battled the whole time. No-hitter for five innings, perfect game [into the sixth], and then an error at first base and they get a base hit to right field. It’s a game of inches and one more inch to the right and [Cody] Stubbs makes that play and it’s a double play. The big one was the high fastball that got by [Cam] Gallagher that tied the ballgame. [Luis] Santos pitched a very good ballgame; he did. He really did a good job. Kind of lost his composure there in the sixth inning but was able to regroup and get out of it and keep us in the ballgame. Our bullpen has been so good, it’s really a matter of time before something happens. [Kyle] Bartsch just left a couple of pitches out over the plate. In this ballpark you can’t do that and they made him pay for it and they got the win. I’m proud of the guys for coming back there in the ninth inning and bringing the tying run to second base. They beat us again and we’ve got to regroup tomorrow and go after it.”

      “The thing he did today, he was behind in the count a couple times, 2-and-1 counts and was able to throw his changeup for a strike and got swings on it. It kept them off balance and that was the key. He dropped his breaking ball in for strikes when he wanted to. He pitched a very good ballgame, no doubt. I was impressed. I thought he threw the ball really well.”

      “We got to do a better job [with runners in scoring position], no doubt about it. When you look at our streak of winning nine out of 11, that’s the thing we did, is do the situations [well]. There were countless nights during that nice streak of 5-for-5 with runners at third base and less than two outs and big two-out hits. The last two nights, we’ve stranded some runners there with two outs. It’s one of those things that when you’re going good, things are good, and when you’re going bad, things are bad. We’ll be all right. We’ll regroup tomorrow and go get them.”

    • June 3, 2014 12:00 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      Santos Impressive In Debut But Wilmington Drops Third Straight

      Rocks Starter Takes No-Hitter Into Sixth Inning But Frederick Offense Heats Up Late

       

      Frederick, MD – Wilmington starter Luis Santos took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but it was not enough to carry the Blue Rocks to victory on Saturday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Frederick scored two runs in the sixth, went ahead with one in the seventh and then got two critical insurance tallies in the eighth on the way to a 5-4 triumph for the Keys. The loss was Wilmington's third straight and it dropped them back to .500 (27-27) on the season. 

       

      Santos retired the first 13 batters he faced in his Advanced-A debut, and did not yield a hit until there was one out in the sixth. Jerome Pena sent a bouncer to first that took a bad hop on Cody Stubbs, allowing Pena to reach safely. It was originally scored an error, but later changed to a hit.  That seemed to spur the Keys, as everything unraveled on the Blue Crew. Frederick would score twice in the frame to tie the game, 2-2. The first run came across on an RBI groundout by Brenden Webb while the second scored on a passed ball by Cam Gallagher

       

      Southpaw Kyle Bartsch replaced Santos on the mound in the seventh inning and things unraveled further for the Blue Crew. With one out in the inning, Adrian Marin poked a solo blast to right, giving the Keys a 3-2 lead, their first of the ballgame. Bartsch allowed two more runs to cross the plate in the eighth inning, as Frederick extended its lead to 5-2. The first came on a solo homer to right by Webb and the second on an RBI single by Creede Simpson. 

       

      The Blue Rocks mounted a late rally in the ninth inning, scoring twice and putting the tying run on base. Tyler Chism walked with one out in the frame and Gallagher doubled him home to make it 5-3. After Kenny Diekroeger struck out swinging, Daniel Rockett’s pinch-hit RBI single plated Gallagher, drawing the Rocks to within 5-4. Raul Mondesi then lined out to end the game.

       

      Wilmington took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Terrance Gore walked and then stole second base. Raul Mondesi then walked to put runners at first and second for Hunter Dozier, who doubled to drive them both in.

      Joe Van Meter (2-0, 3.04) picked up his second win of the campaign for Frederick while Bartsch (3-3, 3.60) absorbed his third defeat. Matt Hobgood earned his second save.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Sunday in Frederick as they continue their four-game series with the Keys. Wilmington will send southpaw Sean Manaea (2-3, 4.91) to the mound, while Frederick will counter with right-hander Mark Blackmar (2-1, 4.97). First pitch is slated for 2:00 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Rocks return to Frawley on June 3, when the Potomac Nationals visit town for a three-game set. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      After Saturday’s 5-4 loss at Frederick, the Rocks' third straight to the Keys, Wilmington is now 8-9 in 2014 against the Carolina League Northern Division. However, Saturday's contest was just the team's sixth against a division foe other than the Lynchburg Hillcats. In an odd scheduling quirk, Wilmington has only faced nearby division rival Frederick six times, with just two of the games coming at Harry Grove Stadium.  The Rocks have still yet to play the Potomac Nationals. Wilmington won't do battle against Potomac until a rare home-and-home leads to six straight games with the Nationals, June 3-8.

      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate on offense.  Despite missing Thursday's game because he was hit by a pitch in the left hand and then injured his right hand trying to slide into second base on a subsequent stolen base attempt in Wednesday's win at Carolina, Dozier went 1-for-4 with two RBIs Saturday.  The third-baseman went for X-Rays on Wednesday, which proved negative, allowing the reigning Carolina League Player of the Week to pick up right where he left off.  Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 draft is hitting .421 (16-for-38) with seven doubles, seven RBIs and 11 runs scored. He continues to excel outside of the First State, batting .325 on the road this year as opposed to just .226 at home. Overall, his average sits at .272 on the season.

      Saturday night’s contest in Frederick was the longest the Blue Rocks have gone without allowing a hit since August 24, 2013. That night, southpaw Sam Selman threw eight hitless innings against the Potomac Nationals before hitting his pitch count, which forced manager Vance Wilson to remove him from the ballgame. Andrew Edwards replaced him and allowed a double to Cutter Dykstra, ending Wilmington’s bid for a combined no-hitter. Selman did not allow a baserunner until the fifth inning and did not yield a free pass until the sixth. The Blue Crew won that game, 1-0, on a Sam Bates sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th inning.

      Terrance Gore and Kenny Diekroeger both swiped a bag Saturday night, increasing Wilmington’s total on the season to 59. The Rocks are second in the Carolina League in steals but first in efficiency; the Blue Crew has been caught just 10 times on the basepaths in 2014. No other Carolina League team has been caught less than 13 times. Gore is now 16-for-17 in the stolen-base department, giving him the Blue Rocks team lead. That total also ties him for third in the league behind Lynchburg’s duo of Jose Peraza (26) and Kyle Wren (24). Jack Lopez is second on the team with 10 thefts, while Bubba Starling ranks third with nine. Raul Mondesi is fourth with eight steals and Diekroeger’s six tie him with Hunter Dozier for fifth.

      Wilmington’s season-long struggles with runners in scoring position have reared their head once again over the last two games. In the first two games of its current series with Frederick, the Blue Crew is just 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position. The Rocks have stranded a combined total of 13 baserunners between the two contests. On the campaign, Wilmington is batting just .202 (102-for-506) with runners in scoring position.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “You have got to tip your hat to them. They battled the whole time. No-hitter for five innings, perfect game [into the sixth], and then an error at first base and they get a base hit to right field. It’s a game of inches and one more inch to the right and [Cody] Stubbs makes that play and it’s a double play. The big one was the high fastball that got by [Cam] Gallagher that tied the ballgame. [Luis] Santos pitched a very good ballgame; he did. He really did a good job. Kind of lost his composure there in the sixth inning but was able to regroup and get out of it and keep us in the ballgame. Our bullpen has been so good, it’s really a matter of time before something happens. [Kyle] Bartsch just left a couple of pitches out over the plate. In this ballpark you can’t do that and they made him pay for it and they got the win. I’m proud of the guys for coming back there in the ninth inning and bringing the tying run to second base. They beat us again and we’ve got to regroup tomorrow and go after it.”

      “The thing he did today, he was behind in the count a couple times, 2-and-1 counts and was able to throw his changeup for a strike and got swings on it. It kept them off balance and that was the key. He dropped his breaking ball in for strikes when he wanted to. He pitched a very good ballgame, no doubt. I was impressed. I thought he threw the ball really well.”

      “We got to do a better job [with runners in scoring position], no doubt about it. When you look at our streak of winning nine out of 11, that’s the thing we did, is do the situations [well]. There were countless nights during that nice streak of 5-for-5 with runners at third base and less than two outs and big two-out hits. The last two nights, we’ve stranded some runners there with two outs. It’s one of those things that when you’re going good, things are good, and when you’re going bad, things are bad. We’ll be all right. We’ll regroup tomorrow and go get them.”

       

    • June 3, 2014 12:02 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      Dozier’s Clutch Hit Helps Blue Rocks Snap Four-Game Skid

      Third Baseman Drove In The Winning Run With An RBI Single In The Seventh

       

      Frederick, MD – Hunter Dozier’s seventh-inning RBI single broke a scoreless tie and helped lead the Wilmington Blue Rocks to a 3-0 win Monday night against the Frederick Keys at Harry Grove Stadium. Wilmington also added two insurance runs in the eighth en route to snapping its four-game losing streak. The victory also moved the Blue Crew back to the .500 mark at 28-28 on the season.

       

      Monday night’s contest was a pitcher’s duel from the outset as Glenn Sparkman and Branden Kline matched each other pitch-for-pitch for the first five innings. Sparkman left the game after throwing five shutout frames and yielding just three hits and two walks. Kline continued deeper into the game and threw 6.2 outstanding innings of his own. He allowed one run on six hits. 

       

      However, that one tally proved costly for Kline and the Keys because it turned out to be the winning run for Wilmington. Dozier stepped to the plate with two outs in the seventh against Kline and the bags packed full of Rocks. He ripped a single to left-center on the second pitch he saw, plating Daniel Rockett and putting the Blue Rocks ahead, 1-0. Rockett led off the frame with a base hit up the middle and followed that up by stealing second. Kenny Diekroeger then walked and was erased on a fielder’s choice by Jack Lopez, which also moved Rockett to third. Bubba Starling took a free pass to load them up before Dozier’s clutch hit.

       

      The Blue Crew scored twice more in the eighth inning off of relief pitcher Mychal Givens, extending their lead to 3-0. The runs came across courtesy of walk, a stolen base, a single, a wild pitch and an error. Cody Stubbs drew a base on balls to lead off the frame and then stole second base to move into scoring position. He advanced to third on a groundout by Daniel Rockett and scored on Diekroeger’s RBI knock to right-center. Diekroeger took second on a wild pitch by Givens and scored after Terrance Gore reached on a throwing error by third-baseman Sammie Starr.

       

      Daniel Stumpf (2-7, 3.63) picked up his second win of the season for the Blue Rocks after throwing four perfect innings in relief of Sparkman, who received a no-decision. Branden Kline (3-2, 3.21) absorbed his second loss of the campaign for the Keys.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium as they open up a three-game homestand and play the first of six straight against the Potomac Nationals. Wilmington will send righty Miguel Almonte (3-2, 4.72) to the mound, while Potomac will counter with southpaw Matthew Spann (4-0, 1.85). First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate with two more hits on Monday against Frederick, including the game-winning single in the seventh. Dozier went 2-for-5 at the plate, raising his batting average to .280 on the season. The third-baseman missed a game early in the road trip after he was hit by a pitch in the left hand and injured his right hand trying to slide into second base on a subsequent stolen base attempt in Wednesday's win at Carolina. After getting X-Rays, which proved negative, last week’s Carolina League Player of the Week picked up right where he left off upon his return to the lineup. Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 Draft is batting .426 (2-for-47) with seven doubles, eight RBIs and 12 runs scored. He continues to excel outside of the First State, batting .337s on the road this year as opposed to just .226 at home.

      Since moving into the starting rotation two weeks ago, Glenn Sparkman has been downright dominant. The right-hander has made three starts and has not allowed a run since making the transition. Sparkman has pitched a combined total of 13.2 innings as a starter and allowed nine hits and three walks while striking out 11. As a reliever, the second-year pro was equally as impressive. Sparkman amassed a 2.28 ERA and 27 punchouts in 11 relief appearances earlier this season while yielding 19 hits, and seven bases on balls in 23.2 innings pitched.

      Wilmington's bullpen continues to be the strength of its team in 2014. In Monday night’s series finale against Frederick, southpaw Daniel Stumpf (2-7, 3.63) turned in perhaps the best outing by a Blue Rocks reliever this year. He struck out four and did not walk a batter across four perfect frames. Stumpf began the year as a starter but transitioned to the bullpen when Glenn Sparkman was moved to the rotation. The lefty has not allowed a run as a reliever and has a 1-0 record in three appearances out of the ‘pen. In eight starts, Stumpf compiled a 1-7 record and a 4.19 ERA. As a unit, the Wilmington 'pen has posted an 11-6 overall mark with a 2.61 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 186 innings pitched. Mark Peterson, the team's closer, has worked 22 consecutive innings without allowing a run. He has struck out 17 and walked 9 batters in 17 appearances this season and leads the Carolina League with 10 saves in as many tries. His ERA on the season is 0.76.

      Wilmington's 3-0 triumph on Monday was the Rocks’ fifth shutout win of the season. The Blue Crew has recorded two sets of back-to-back shutouts in 2014, to go along with Monday night’s blanking of the Keys. The Blue Rocks kept Winston-Salem off of the scoreboard in two consecutive games on April 11 and 12, something Wilmington had not accomplished since turning in four straight shutouts in 2009. The Rocks repeated the feat on May 27 and May 28 against the Carolina Mudcats, at the start of the team’s now-completed road trip. The Blue Crew has the second-most shutouts in the Carolina League this season behind only Salem, which leads the loop with six blankings this year.

      Wilmington’s road trip to Carolina and Frederick featured a mixed bag of results. The Rocks went 3-4 on the trip by taking two-of-three from the Mudcats and dropping three-of-four to the Keys. During the seven games, the Blue Crew was outscored by its opponents, 23-22. In the team’s four losses, the Rocks were outpaced 23-10. However, thanks to three of the Wilmington’s five shutouts this season, the Blue Rocks outscored its opponents, 12-0, in the team’s three victories. In the three-game set against Carolina, the Blue Crew outpaced the Mudcats, 13-6. In the four-game series against the Keys, the Rocks were badly outscored, 17-9.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “[Tonight] was a must-win situation in my mind. Not just to salvage getting swept here, but to get some momentum going into playing Potomac. These next six games against Potomac are going to be pretty big because they’re above us in the standings and the only way we can get to first place is to take care of the guys in front of us. We don’t play Lynchburg any more [in the first half], so Potomac is going to be a big series.”

      [Glenn Sparkman] has stepped right in and done a very good job. We added a curveball to his repertoire that he wasn’t throwing out of the bullpen. He threw it in college and it didn’t take very long for him to get it back. He’s done an outstanding job with his fastball, with his location, and just pitched a heck of a ballgame tonight. It looked like he was running out of gas there in that last inning and got out of it. That was the decision that we went with, to go ahead and get him out of there after five.”

       

      “That was by far [Daniel Stumpf’s] best game of the year. The key was he was able to handle the left-handed hitters. That was one thing that he was struggling with in the rotation, giving up hits to those left-handers. Tonight, he was able to throw some quality breaking balls and kept those guys off-balance. Then you throw in his fastball, and he did a great job. A well-deserved win because I know he took a few losses where we didn’t score any runs for him. It was good to see him get a win.”

       

      “[Branden Kline] had our number, no doubt. He pitched well against us at our place, [too]. Tonight, we just weren’t getting anything off of him. And when we do have second and third there with one out, he makes some great pitches on [Kenny] Diekroeger and gets a big strikeout and gets out of it. Fortunately, we just got [to him], in that seventh inning, I’m sure he was running out of gas a little bit. We finally were able to pinch one across. Again, Hunter [Dozier] laces a ball right to the left fielder which anywhere else we could probably get two out of it but I was satisfied with one at the time.”

       

      “We got into a situation where the guy on the mound was a little slow to the plate. We weren’t really tearing the cover off the ball so I was like, well let’s put some guys in motion. So we got in motion and it paid off for us. It created some runs, got guys in scoring position and we got a break with the ground ball to short on [Terrance] Gore that got by the first baseman and Kenny [Diekroeger] was able to score. Hidden in all that was a big two-out base hit by Diekroeger, as well. We’ve got to manufacture any way we can and if it’s stealing bases, we’ve got to do it.”

       

      “Probably the only time I ever [had six straight games against one team] was back when I played in the Texas League and I was playing for Tulsa. We played Shreveport 10 straight games, five at home and five on the road. That’s probably the last time I remember doing that. It’s a great thing right now with the situation in the standings but it’s also a tough thing. You play a team that many times, things are going to happen, tempers are going to flare and you never know what you’ll get out of those.”

       

    • June 3, 2014 11:16 PM EDT
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      Untitled

      Dozier’s Big Night Leads Wilmington To Crucial Win Over Potomac

      Third Baseman Doubled Twice, Drove In Three

       

      Wilmington, DE – A pair of seventh-inning runs helped the Wilmington Blue Rocks to a crucial 5-3 win over the Potomac Nationals Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. The Rocks had surrendered the tying run in the top of the frame, but seized the lead back in the bottom half thanks to an RBI fielder’s choice by Raul Mondesi and an RBI double by Hunter Dozier. Tuesday night’s victory drew the Blue Rocks back to within one game of first-place Potomac and back to within a half game of second-place Lynchburg in the Carolina League Northern Division. The Blue Crew is now back over .500 at 29-28 on the season.

       

      With the game deadlocked at three entering the home half of the seventh, Terrance Gore ripped a one-out double down the left-field line. Gore then advanced to third a throwing error by pitcher Gilberto Mendez, who had tried to pick him off of second base. Potomac then brought the infield in for Mondesi, with a runner at third and still only one away. Mondesi rolled a ground ball weakly to second-baseman Tony Renda, who attempted to gun down Gore at the plate. Gore was too fast, though, and beat the throw, allowing the Rocks to regain the lead, 4-3, and Mondesi to reach safely. Bubba Starling grounded out for the second out of the frame, which brought the red-hot Dozier to the plate. Dozier promptly launched a ball into the left-field corner for a double, plating Mondesi to give the Blue Crew a crucial insurance run and a 5-3 lead.

       

      Potomac’s Khayyan Norfork’s solo homer to left tied the contest, 3-3 in the top of the seventh. The ball hugged the left-field foul pole and just barely stayed fair.

      The Blue scored three times in the bottom of the third inning to erase a 2-0 deficit and move ahead of the Nationals, 3-2. Daniel Rockett kicked off the rally with a single and was replaced at first by Gore on a fielder’s choice grounder. Mondesi stepped up next and reached on an error by Norfork, the third-baseman. Gore advanced to second on the miscue. Starling then roped a double down the left-field line to score Gore and move Mondesi to third. Dozier plated both Mondesi and Starling to move the Blue Crew ahead, 3-2, when he ripped a double deep to the gap in left-center field.

       

      Potomac scored its first two runs of the game in the opening frame off of Blue Rocks starter Miguel Almonte. Renda drew a free pass to lead off the game and moved to third on a one-out double by Oscar Tejeda. Shawn Pleffner drove home Renda with an RBI groundout, which gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead and moved Tejeda to third. Randolph Oduber’s RBI single scored Tejeda to make it 2-0, Potomac.

       

      Almonte (4-2, 4.62) earned his fourth win of the season for the Blue Rocks with seven solid innings on the mound. He yielded three runs and two walks on five hits while striking out four. Mendez (2-3, 3.20) suffered his third defeat of the year for the Nationals after allowing two runs on two hits in two innings of work. Mark Peterson earned his Carolina League-leading 11th save by pitching a scoreless ninth.

       

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:


      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate with two more hits on Tuesday night against Potomac. Dozier went 2-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and three RBIs against the Nationals, raising his batting average to .285 on the season. Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 Draft is batting .431 (22-for-51) with nine doubles, 11 RBIs and 12 runs scored. The third-baseman was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for May 19-25, and has continued to do nothing but hit since. Dozier has been significantly better outside of the First State this year, batting .337 on the road and just .237 at Frawley Stadium.

       

      Wilmington’s bullpen continues to be the strength of its team in 2014. In Tuesday night’s series-opener against Potomac, closer Mark Peterson (1-0, 0.73) earned his Carolina League-leading 11th save by throwing a scoreless ninth. Peterson recorded two quick outs before loading the bases by giving up a pair of hits and a walk. He got out of it by inducing a flyout to Terrance Gore in left to end the game. Peterson has now worked 23 consecutive innings without allowing a run. He has struck out 17 and walked 10 batters in 18 appearances this season. As a unit, the Wilmington ‘pen has posted a 12-6 overall mark with a 2.58 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 192 innings pitched.

      After Tuesday’s 5-4 victory over Potomac, Wilmington is now 10-10 in 2014 against the Carolina League Northern Division. In an odd scheduling quirk, Tuesday night’s contest was the team's initial meeting with the Nationals – 57 games into the season. The Rocks are now in the midst of a stretch of six straight against the P-Nats. Wilmington had also not faced nearby division rival Frederick until May 23, when they entered a stretch of 8 games out of 11 against the Keys. Wilmington is 4-4 against Frederick and 5-6 against the Lynchburg Hillcats.

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      “Those were two big hits [by Bubba Starling and Hunter Dozier] for us especially after we gave up two runs there in the first inning. Behind 2-0, it’s no secret this is a big series for us. To come back and get three there takes the pressure off a little bit and puts the pressure on them. It was big.”

       

      [Mark Peterson] had to work for that one. He’s been carrying the load for us. We had him up last night, as well, and he pitched the night before one inning to get some work then we had him warming up last night just in case we needed him and then tonight. We used him quite a bit here these past few nights and it showed it showed a little bit. He has a knack of finding it when he needs to and he really needed to right there.”

       

      “First inning, fastball command wasn’t quite there [for Miguel Almonte]. He got behind a little bit and then after we got the three runs he really started settling in there and he pitched a very good ball game.”

    • June 4, 2014 5:40 PM EDT
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      Rosters Announced For California League/Carolina League All-Star Game Presented By Bank of America On June 17 At Frawley Stadium

      Rocks Represented By Four Players At Upcoming All-Star Event

      Wilmington, DE– The rosters for the 2014 California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, presented by Bank of America, were announced on Wednesday by the respective leagues. The game, which will be held at Frawley Stadium on Tuesday, June 17, will feature four players from the host Blue Rocks, as well as five of the top 100 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com.

      Wilmington pitchers Christian Binford, Jonathan Dziedzic and Mark Peterson, as well as catcher Cam Gallagher will represent the Blue Crew on the Carolina League squad, the second-most All-Stars from one team in the Carolina League. Binford and Dziedzic have anchored the Blue Rocks starting rotation, with each ranking in the top-10 in the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched. Binford leads the league in total punchouts and also sits top-five in the eight-team loop in batting average against and WHIP. Dziedzic leads the Rocks in wins with five. Peterson has been the top closer in the Carolina League with a league-high 11 saves in as many tries. He has also posted a scant 0.73 ERA and has worked 23 consecutive scoreless frames. Gallagher has been one of the most consistent defensive backstops all season. On offense, he bettered his batting average by 50 points during the month of May.

      The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who have the best record in the Carolina League by a wide margin, have the most representatives on the Carolina League team. The Pelicans will send three pitchers, a catcher, two infielders and two outfielders to Wilmington. Starting hurlers Alex Gonzalez and Andrew Faulkner will be joined by their battery mate, Jorge Alfaro. Gonzalez and Faulkner each rank in the top-five in the league in earned run average. Gonzalez is 5-2 with a 2.49 ERA, while Faulkner has posted a perfect 4-0 mark and a 2.28 ERA. The Texas Rangers selected Gonzalez No. 23 overall in the first round of the 2013 Draft. Alfaro is batting .272 with five homers, 30 RBIs and 18 extra-base hits. Southpaw Alex Claudio will come to Wilmington out of the Pelicans bullpen. Claudio is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 13 relief appearances totaling 37.2 innings pitched. In the outfield, Nick Williams and Royce Bolinger will represent the Pelicans. Williams, who was drafted in the second round of the 2012 Draft by the Rangers, ranks sixth in the Carolina League with a .305 batting average. He also places top-five in the loop in RBIs, hits and doubles. Bolinger ranks fifth in the Carolina League in hitting with a .308 average. The Pelicans will also supply both corner infielders, with Preston Beck at first base and Joey Gallo at third. Beck has 33 RBIs to go along with a .359 OBP, while Gallo has been the best power hitter in all of Minor League Baseball. He leads the Carolina League with 21 home runs, more than two different teams and 11 more than any other player. He also leads the loop in on-base percentage, total bases, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and RBIs. Gallo is a former first-round pick; the Rangers took him No. 39 overall in the 2012 Draft.

      The Carolina Mudcats have the third-most players with three. Starting pitcher Ryan Merritt, infielder Erik Gonzalez and outfielder Anthony Gallas are all headed to Wilmington. Merritt leads Carolina League starters with his 1.71 ERA. The southpaw is also 6-2 on the year. Gonzalez has the longest hitting streak of anyone in the loop this season with a 16-gamer in April, while Gallas leads the league in doubles and is second in extra-base hits and slugging percentage. Gonzalez also has the distinction of being on the Cleveland Indians’ 40-man roster.

      Three Salem Red Sox have been named to the Carolina League All-Star Team, but only two will be active. The batting leader, Reed Gragnani, and one of only two men in the Carolina League to pitch a complete-game shutout this season, Justin Haley, are the two Red Sox who will appear in the game. Outfielder Jonathan Roof was also named to the team, but will not play due to promotion.

      The Lynchburg Hillcats and Potomac Nationals each have two All-Stars on the Carolina League roster. Lynchburg’s Greg Ross, who has the second-lowest baserunners-per-nine-innings-pitched ratio in the league, and infielder Jose Peraza, who shares the Carolina League lead with 27 stolen bases and is third in the loop with a .319 average, will represent Lynchburg. Infielders Stephen Perez and Shawn Pleffner are the P-Nats who were named All-Stars

      The Frederick Keys will also have two All-Stars, but one is unavailable for the game due to injury. Pitcher Matt Taylor, who ranks second in the Carolina League in ERA at 1.94, was named to the squad but is currently on the Disabled List. Frederick’s one active All-Star is outfielder Glynn Davis, whose .313 batting average places him fourth in the league.

      Second-year Carolina Leaguer Courtney Hawkins is the only member of the Dash to make the squad.  Hawkins has enjoyed an impressive sophomore season in Winston-Salem. He is second in the league in homers and also ranks top-five in the loop in RBIs, extra-base hits and slugging percentage. Hawkins was taken No. 13 overall in the first round of the 2012 Draft by the Chicago White Sox.

      The Carolina League team will be skippered by Wilmington manager Darryl Kennedy. He is in his second season with the Blue Rocks and has the Blue Crew just one game out of first place in the Carolina League North. Wilmington pitching coach Steve Luebber, the longest-tenured coach in Blue Rocks history, will also be on the staff, along with trainer James Stone, who is in this third season with Wilmington and clubhouse manager Josh DiBiase, in his second year with the Rocks.

      On the other side, the California League pitching staff features nine talented hurlers representing seven different clubs. Right-handers Austin  Adams and Kurt Spomer hail from the Inland Empire 66ers. Both pitchers have dominated in relief this season. Adams is 0-1 with a 2.39 ERA and has struck out 34 in 26.1 innings pitched across 19 outings. Spomer has been every bit as difficult on opposing hitters. He is 2-1 with a 0.34 ERA and 18 punchouts in 26.2 frames through 19 appearances. Righty Enrique Burgos comes from the Visalia Rawhide, where he has gone 0-2 with a 3.22 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances out of the bullpen. He has whiffed 30 and worked a total of 22.1 innings pitched. Right-handers Trevor Gott and Joe Ross join the squad from the Lake Elsinore Storm. Gott is second in the California League with 15 saves and has amassed a 2-3 record to go along with his sterling 2.70 ERA. He has struck out 27 and walked just nine in 26.2 innings across 25 appearances. Ross has been outstanding as a starting pitcher and is tied for fifth in the California League with a 3.07 ERA across his 12 starts. He has a record of 5-3 and has punched out 62 batters in his 67.1 innings of work, good for fifth in the league.

       

      Lancaster’s Josh Hader has split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Eight of the southpaw’s 12 appearances have been starts. Hader is 5-0 with a 2.44 ERA and has struck out 69 in 55.1 innings pitched. He is second in the California League in punchouts and in ERA. The California League’s best starting pitcher, right-hander Ben Lively, hails from the Bakersfield Blaze. Lively sits atop the leaderboard in wins, ERA and strikeouts. The righty is 9-1 with a 1.95 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 74 innings pitched across 12 starts. He has issued only 13 walks on the campaign. Left-handed reliever Steven Okert has terrorized opposing hitters to the tune of a 1.17 ERA in 28 outings for the San Jose Giants. Okert leads the California League with 17 saves in 17 tries and has struck out 49 in 30.2 innings pitched. Rounding out the California League staff is righty Seth Streich of the Stockton Ports. Streich has made 12 starts this season and is 6-4 with a 3.41 ERA. He has struck out 67, good for third in the California League and walked 15 in 63.1 innings pitched. Andrew Barbosa of the Visalia Rawhide and Nate Smith of the Inland Empire 66ers were also named to the California League team, but both will be inactive.

       

      Shortstop Carlos Correa, whom the Houston Astros selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 Draft, headlines a group of seven skilled infielders on the California League roster. Correa is sixth in the California League with a .328 batting average. He has homered five times and driven in 49 while getting on base at a .399 clip for the Lancaster JetHawks. Those 49 RBIs rank second in the league. Correa’s double-play partner with the JetHawks, Anthony Kemp, joins him in the California League infield. Kemp has done nothing but hit this season, compiling a .339 batting average, three homers and 28 RBIs to go along with a sky-high .430 on-base percentage, which is tops the California League. The speedy left-handed hitter leads the loop with 80 hits and has swiped 21 bags in 27 tries, good for second in the league. Corey Seager and Chris Jacobs both join the team from the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Seager was selected No. 18 overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2012 Draft and is living up to his billing as a top prospect this season. For the Quakes, he is batting .335 with eight homers and 37 RBIs in 50 games while getting on base at a .388 clip. Seager is tied for third in the California League in batting average and first in doubles with 21. Jacobs owns a .281 batting average for the Quakes and has gone deep 10 times while driving in 40.

       

      Trevor Story of the Modesto Nuts has a .323 average, which leaves him seventh in the California League, to go along with three homers and 22 driven in. Story is also getting on base at a torrid pace. His .410 on-base percentage is tied for fourth in the league. Rounding out the California League infielders are Diego Goris of the Lake Elsinore Storm and Brandon Drury of the Visalia Rawhide. Goris is the league’s leading hitter, with a .341 average this season. He has also slugged 10 homers and knocked in 35. Goris’ 74 hits are tied for third in the league. Drury owns a .278 batting average and has homered 13 times while driving home 46. He is third in the league in homers and second in the league in doubles with 20.

       

      Bruce Maxwell of the Stockton Ports and Roberto Pena of the Lancaster JetHawks will handle the catching duties for the California League. Maxwell is hitting .282 with four homers and 19 RBIs. Behind the dish, he has a .986 fielding percentage in 48 games. Maxwell has caught 423.2 frames for Stockton, a majority of the team’s total innings. He has also gunned down nearly 43 percent of would-be base stealers. Opponents are just 36-for-63 when attempting to steal on him. Pena has also been a workhorse behind the plate. In 42 games, he has caught 374.2 innings while throwing out 27 of 47 attempted base stealers, an astounding 57 percent. He owns a nearly-perfect .997 fielding percentage. Pena is batting .242 with four homers and 23 RBIs for the JetHawks.

       

      The California League All-Star Team’s five-man outfield is headlined by Hunter Renfroe of the Lake Elsinore Storm. The right-handed hitter was selected No. 13 overall in the 2013 Draft by the San Diego Padres. Renfroe slugged his way onto the team by belting a league-leading 15 home runs. His 48 RBIs are third in the league and he is tops in the circuit with 133 total bases. Renfroe is hitting .286 and getting on base at a .358 clip. The Lancaster JetHawks’ Teoscar Hernandez joins Renfroe in the outfield and is hitting .291 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs so far. His 46 RBIs and 16 thefts are both tied for fourth in the league. Hernandez is also tied for fifth with 30 extra-base hits.

       

      The California League’s third outfielder is Gabriel Guerrero of the High Desert Mavericks. Guerrero, the nephew of former American League All-Star and MVP Vladimir Guerrero, is hitting .322 this year. That’s good for eighth in the league. Guerrero has hit seven long balls and driven in 41 for the Mavericks. Rounding out the California League’s outfielders are Kyle Waldrop and Jesse Winker of the Bakersfield Blaze. Waldrop is batting .335 with four homers and 26 RBIs and Winker is hitting .318 with nine homers and 39 driven in. Waldrop’s .335 average is third in the California League while his 73 hits are also tied for sixth. Winker is third in on-base percentage at .414.

       

      Former big-leaguer Denny Hocking will manage the California League. Hocking, who currently skippers the Inland Empire 66ers, had a 13-year big league career and hit .251 with 25 homers and 226 RBIs in 954 career games with the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals. He is in his first season at the helm of the 66ers. Inland Empire pitching coach Matt Wise,hitting coach Brent Del Chiaro and trainer Omar Uribe will round out the California League staff. Wise is in his first season with the 66ers while Del Chiaro and Uribe are in their second.

       

      For tickets to the 2014 California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, presented by Bank of America, or for the Hitting Challenge on June 16, fans should call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com/AllStar.

    • June 5, 2014 12:56 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WEDNESDAY JUNE 4, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Wilmington’s Offense Quiet In 2-1 Loss To Potomac

      Dozier’s RBI Double In Sixth Drove In Team’s Only Run

       

      Wilmington, DE – After winning the opener of their pivotal late-half series with the Potomac on Tuesday, the Wilmington Blue Rocks could not follow up with a successful encore, falling to the Nationals Wednesday night, 2-1. The defeat dropped the Rocks back to the .500 mark (29-29) and leaves them two games back in the Carolina League Northern Division. 

       

      The P-Nats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a second-inning sacrifice fly by Will Piwnica-Worms. Shawn Pleffner led off the frame by punching a double down the left-field line off of Blue Rocks starter Jonathan Dziedzic. Pleffner advanced to third on a groundout to third before Piwnica-Worms plated him. 

       

      Pleffner struck again in the fourth inning when he yanked a solo home run deep to right off of Dziedzic, giving the Nationals a 2-0 lead. The long ball was a no-doubt-about-it shot that bounced off of the outer fence at Frawley Stadium

       

      Dziedzic recovered from a rough outing against Carolina his last time out to toss five solid innings for the Blue Crew. He yielded just two runs on four hits and struck out a pair while walking one.

       

      Wilmington scored its first run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning on yet another RBI double by Hunter DozierTerrance Gore reached with one out in the frame on a fielding error by third-baseman Oscar Tejeda. He then advanced to third on a single to center by Raul Mondesi, which put runners at the corners for Bubba Starling and Dozier. Starling struck out for the inning’s second out.

       

      The red-hot Dozier followed that up by pulling a ball into the left-field corner that barely bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, plating Gore to draw the Blue Rocks back to within 2-1. That was all Wilmington would score, though, as they stranded Mondesi at third and Dozier at second.

      Brett Brach (1-0, 1.64) earned his first win for Potomac by throwing six stellar innings. He allowed just one unearned run and struck out four. Dziedzic (5-4, 3.00) suffered the tough-luck loss for Wilmington.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Thursday night at Frawley Stadium for the final game of a brief three-game homestand against Potomac. It is also the third of six straight against the P-Nats. Wilmington will send righty Christian Binford (3-3, 2.68) to the mound, while Potomac will counter with righty Dakota Bacus (2-1, 3.13). First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE

      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate with two more hits on Wednesday night against Potomac. Dozier went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI against the Nationals, raising his batting average to .291 on the season. Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 Draft is batting .444 (24-for-54) with 10 doubles, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. The third-baseman was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for May 19-25, and has continued to do nothing but hit since. Dozier has been better outside of the First State this year, batting .337 on the road and .250 at Frawley Stadium.

      Wilmington Blue Rocks manager Darryl Kennedy was ejected between the sixth and the seventh innings by home plate umpire Chase Eade after he came out to argue following a Zane Evans strikeout. It was the second ejection of the season for the Blue Rocks skipper. On April 19, in Myrtle Beach, both Kennedy and Raul Mondesi were ejected in the fourth inning after arguing a strike call by home plate umpire Ryan Willis. Mondesi was hit in the foot by a Cody Ege pitch, but Willis called it a strike, ruling that the 18-year-old prospect had swung at it. Mondesi and Kennedy argued their case, but were both quickly thrown out.

      After Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss against Potomac, Wilmington is now 10-11 in 2014 against the Carolina League Northern Division. In an odd scheduling quirk, Wednesday night's contest was just the team’s second meeting with the Nationals - 58 games into the season. The Rocks are now in the midst of a stretch of six straight against the P-Nats. Wilmington had also not faced nearby division rival Frederick until May 23, when they entered a stretch of 8 games out of 11 against the Keys. Wilmington is 4-4 against Frederick and 5-6 against the Lynchburg Hillcats.

      Wilmington's bullpen continues to be the strength of its team in 2014. During Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to Potomac, Johnny Walter and Kyle Bartsch combined to throw four shutout innings in relief of Jonathan Dziedzic. Walter tossed 2.2 frames and struck out two while allowing just one hit. Bartsch hurled 1.1 innings and struck out one while giving up two hits. Bartsch is 3-3 this season with a 3.38 ERA in 16 outings. He has punched out 25 and walked eight in 21.1 frames. Walter is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 appearances out of the bullpen. He has whiffed 14 and issued five free passes in 16.2 innings. As a unit, the Wilmington 'pen has posted a 12-6 overall mark with a 2.55 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 194 innings pitched.

      The rosters for the 2014 California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, presented by Bank of America, were announced on Wednesday by the respective leagues. The game, which will be held at Frawley Stadium on Tuesday, June 17, will feature four players from the host Blue Rocks, as well as five of the top 100 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com. Wilmington pitchers Christian BinfordJonathan Dziedzic and Mark Peterson, as well as catcher Cam Gallagher, will represent the Blue Crew on the Carolina League squad, the second-most All-Stars from one team in the Carolina League. Binford and Dziedzic have anchored the Blue Rocks starting rotation, with each ranking in the top-10 in the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched. Binford leads the league in total punchouts and also sits top-five in the eight-team loop in batting average against and WHIP. Dziedzic leads the Rocks in wins with five. Peterson has been the top closer in the Carolina League with a league-high 11 saves in as many tries. He has also posted a scant 0.73 ERA and has worked 23 consecutive scoreless frames. Gallagher has been one of the most consistent defensive backstops all season. On offense, he bettered his batting average by 50 points during the month of May. The Carolina League team will be skippered by Wilmington manager Darryl Kennedy. He is in his second season with the Blue Rocks and has the Blue Crew just one game out of first place in the Carolina League North. Wilmington pitching coach Steve Luebber, the longest-tenured coach in Blue Rocks history, will also be on the staff, along with trainer James Stone, who is in this third season with Wilmington and clubhouse manager Josh DiBiase, in his second year with the Rocks. Myrtle Beach has the most participants with seven.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “It’s a tough loss but I wouldn’t say it’s a difficult loss. It’s hard to sweep a team normally and we’ve got them for six games. We lost tonight but we’ve got four more games with them and we’ve still got a chance. They pitched a very good ballgame against us and we didn’t have much going offensively. Our big threat was there in that sixth inning. Dozier’s ball barely goes over the fence. If that ball stays in play it’s a tie ballgame 2-2 because Mondesi is scoring.”

      “I was trying to spark something, a little motivation. I was looking for a spark (when he got ejected).”

      “Getting the clutch hit isn’t luck. It’s about going up there and battling. The guys battled, we just didn’t get the hits.”

       

      “I thought [Jonathan Dziedzic] threw the ball okay. The catcher took a lot out of him that one inning fouling ten pitches, that cut a whole inning out of his outing. He made one mistake to a lefty for the home run. The one double was a good pitch and the guy just stuck the bat out there and got a double and they manufactured a run there. For the most part, I thought he threw the ball very well.”

       

      “It was nice to see those [four All-Stars] honored, well deserving. Our pitchers have been there all year. [Cam] Gallagher, even though his offensive numbers aren’t quite there, he’s done a great job behind the plate handling pitchers, throwing runners out, blocking…a lot of that goes unnoticed so it’s nice to see him get that bid.”

       

      Left-Handed Starter Jonathan Dziedzic:

       

      “[Tonight] was definitely better than the last couple, I was at least able to make it through five. I thought I had better fastball command and was able to throw both off-speed pitches for strikes.

      “It’s definitely an honor [to make the All-Star Team]. I’m very thankful for the opportunity. There’s a lot of good pitchers in our league so being able to be named one of the All-Star pitchers is an honor and I’m very grateful for it.”

       

      Catcher Cam Gallagher:

       

      “I was actually a little bit shocked [making the All-Star Team]. Our manager sat me down and told me. The offense wasn’t really there too much in the first half but I think I stuck pretty good behind the plate defensively, controlling the pitching staff. My offensive play wasn’t there as much as the defense but it’s a real honor.”

       

    • June 5, 2014 12:57 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WEDNESDAY JUNE 4, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Wilmington’s Offense Quiet In 2-1 Loss To Potomac

      Dozier’s RBI Double In Sixth Drove In Team’s Only Run

       

      Wilmington, DE – After winning the opener of their pivotal late-half series with the Potomac on Tuesday, the Wilmington Blue Rocks could not follow up with a successful encore, falling to the Nationals Wednesday night, 2-1. The defeat dropped the Rocks back to the .500 mark (29-29) and leaves them two games back in the Carolina League Northern Division. 

       

      The P-Nats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a second-inning sacrifice fly by Will Piwnica-Worms. Shawn Pleffner led off the frame by punching a double down the left-field line off of Blue Rocks starter Jonathan Dziedzic. Pleffner advanced to third on a groundout to third before Piwnica-Worms plated him. 

       

      Pleffner struck again in the fourth inning when he yanked a solo home run deep to right off of Dziedzic, giving the Nationals a 2-0 lead. The long ball was a no-doubt-about-it shot that bounced off of the outer fence at Frawley Stadium

       

      Dziedzic recovered from a rough outing against Carolina his last time out to toss five solid innings for the Blue Crew. He yielded just two runs on four hits and struck out a pair while walking one.

       

      Wilmington scored its first run of the contest in the bottom of the sixth inning on yet another RBI double by Hunter DozierTerrance Gore reached with one out in the frame on a fielding error by third-baseman Oscar Tejeda. He then advanced to third on a single to center by Raul Mondesi, which put runners at the corners for Bubba Starling and Dozier. Starling struck out for the inning’s second out.

       

      The red-hot Dozier followed that up by pulling a ball into the left-field corner that barely bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, plating Gore to draw the Blue Rocks back to within 2-1. That was all Wilmington would score, though, as they stranded Mondesi at third and Dozier at second.

      Brett Brach (1-0, 1.64) earned his first win for Potomac by throwing six stellar innings. He allowed just one unearned run and struck out four. Dziedzic (5-4, 3.00) suffered the tough-luck loss for Wilmington.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Thursday night at Frawley Stadium for the final game of a brief three-game homestand against Potomac. It is also the third of six straight against the P-Nats. Wilmington will send righty Christian Binford (3-3, 2.68) to the mound, while Potomac will counter with righty Dakota Bacus (2-1, 3.13). First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE

      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate with two more hits on Wednesday night against Potomac. Dozier went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and an RBI against the Nationals, raising his batting average to .291 on the season. Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 Draft is batting .444 (24-for-54) with 10 doubles, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. The third-baseman was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for May 19-25, and has continued to do nothing but hit since. Dozier has been better outside of the First State this year, batting .337 on the road and .250 at Frawley Stadium.

      Wilmington Blue Rocks manager Darryl Kennedy was ejected between the sixth and the seventh innings by home plate umpire Chase Eade after he came out to argue following a Zane Evans strikeout. It was the second ejection of the season for the Blue Rocks skipper. On April 19, in Myrtle Beach, both Kennedy and Raul Mondesi were ejected in the fourth inning after arguing a strike call by home plate umpire Ryan Willis. Mondesi was hit in the foot by a Cody Ege pitch, but Willis called it a strike, ruling that the 18-year-old prospect had swung at it. Mondesi and Kennedy argued their case, but were both quickly thrown out.

      After Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss against Potomac, Wilmington is now 10-11 in 2014 against the Carolina League Northern Division. In an odd scheduling quirk, Wednesday night's contest was just the team’s second meeting with the Nationals - 58 games into the season. The Rocks are now in the midst of a stretch of six straight against the P-Nats. Wilmington had also not faced nearby division rival Frederick until May 23, when they entered a stretch of 8 games out of 11 against the Keys. Wilmington is 4-4 against Frederick and 5-6 against the Lynchburg Hillcats.

      Wilmington's bullpen continues to be the strength of its team in 2014. During Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to Potomac, Johnny Walter and Kyle Bartsch combined to throw four shutout innings in relief of Jonathan Dziedzic. Walter tossed 2.2 frames and struck out two while allowing just one hit. Bartsch hurled 1.1 innings and struck out one while giving up two hits. Bartsch is 3-3 this season with a 3.38 ERA in 16 outings. He has punched out 25 and walked eight in 21.1 frames. Walter is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 appearances out of the bullpen. He has whiffed 14 and issued five free passes in 16.2 innings. As a unit, the Wilmington 'pen has posted a 12-6 overall mark with a 2.55 ERA and 194 strikeouts in 194 innings pitched.

      The rosters for the 2014 California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, presented by Bank of America, were announced on Wednesday by the respective leagues. The game, which will be held at Frawley Stadium on Tuesday, June 17, will feature four players from the host Blue Rocks, as well as five of the top 100 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com. Wilmington pitchers Christian BinfordJonathan Dziedzic and Mark Peterson, as well as catcher Cam Gallagher, will represent the Blue Crew on the Carolina League squad, the second-most All-Stars from one team in the Carolina League. Binford and Dziedzic have anchored the Blue Rocks starting rotation, with each ranking in the top-10 in the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched. Binford leads the league in total punchouts and also sits top-five in the eight-team loop in batting average against and WHIP. Dziedzic leads the Rocks in wins with five. Peterson has been the top closer in the Carolina League with a league-high 11 saves in as many tries. He has also posted a scant 0.73 ERA and has worked 23 consecutive scoreless frames. Gallagher has been one of the most consistent defensive backstops all season. On offense, he bettered his batting average by 50 points during the month of May. The Carolina League team will be skippered by Wilmington manager Darryl Kennedy. He is in his second season with the Blue Rocks and has the Blue Crew just one game out of first place in the Carolina League North. Wilmington pitching coach Steve Luebber, the longest-tenured coach in Blue Rocks history, will also be on the staff, along with trainer James Stone, who is in this third season with Wilmington and clubhouse manager Josh DiBiase, in his second year with the Rocks. Myrtle Beach has the most participants with seven.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      “It’s a tough loss but I wouldn’t say it’s a difficult loss. It’s hard to sweep a team normally and we’ve got them for six games. We lost tonight but we’ve got four more games with them and we’ve still got a chance. They pitched a very good ballgame against us and we didn’t have much going offensively. Our big threat was there in that sixth inning. Dozier’s ball barely goes over the fence. If that ball stays in play it’s a tie ballgame 2-2 because Mondesi is scoring.”

      “I was trying to spark something, a little motivation. I was looking for a spark (when he got ejected).”

      “Getting the clutch hit isn’t luck. It’s about going up there and battling. The guys battled, we just didn’t get the hits.”

       

      “I thought [Jonathan Dziedzic] threw the ball okay. The catcher took a lot out of him that one inning fouling ten pitches, that cut a whole inning out of his outing. He made one mistake to a lefty for the home run. The one double was a good pitch and the guy just stuck the bat out there and got a double and they manufactured a run there. For the most part, I thought he threw the ball very well.”

       

      “It was nice to see those [four All-Stars] honored, well deserving. Our pitchers have been there all year. [Cam] Gallagher, even though his offensive numbers aren’t quite there, he’s done a great job behind the plate handling pitchers, throwing runners out, blocking…a lot of that goes unnoticed so it’s nice to see him get that bid.”

       

      Left-Handed Starter Jonathan Dziedzic:

       

      “[Tonight] was definitely better than the last couple, I was at least able to make it through five. I thought I had better fastball command and was able to throw both off-speed pitches for strikes.

      “It’s definitely an honor [to make the All-Star Team]. I’m very thankful for the opportunity. There’s a lot of good pitchers in our league so being able to be named one of the All-Star pitchers is an honor and I’m very grateful for it.”

       

      Catcher Cam Gallagher:

       

      “I was actually a little bit shocked [making the All-Star Team]. Our manager sat me down and told me. The offense wasn’t really there too much in the first half but I think I stuck pretty good behind the plate defensively, controlling the pitching staff. My offensive play wasn’t there as much as the defense but it’s a real honor.”

       

    • June 5, 2014 11:09 PM EDT
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      Nationals Stun Blue Rocks With 3-2 Come-From-Behind Victory

      Potomac Scores Twice In Ninth Off Of Blue Rocks Closer Mark Peterson

       

      Wilmington, DE – Wilmington dropped a heartbreaker Thursday night to Potomac at Frawley Stadium as the Nationals stormed back with two runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure a 3-2 victory over the Blue Rocks. With the defeat, the Blue Crew fell three games behind the first-place Nationals and back to a game below .500 at 29-30.

       

      The Nationals handed Blue Rocks closer Mark Peterson his first blown save of the year when he allowed the ninth-inning runs. Stephen Perez led off the frame with a double to left field. He came around to score with one out in the inning on an RBI double by Shawn Pleffner, who drove one over the head of center-fielder Bubba Starling. That tied the game, 2-2. Pleffner scored when Khayyan Norfork reached on a throwing error by shortstop Raul Mondesi.

       

      Wilmington erased an early 1-0 P-Nats lead by scoring twice in the fourth inning. The rally began with a leadoff single from Hunter Dozier to left. Dozier scored from first on a one-out double to the gap in left-center by Michael Antonio, which tied the game, 1-1. Mark Donato followed Antonio’s clutch hit with an RBI double of his own. The left-handed hitting first baseman poked a ball down the left-field line into the corner, which allowed Antonio to score easily from second, giving the Blue Crew a 2-1 lead.

       

      For the third straight night, the Potomac Nationals scored first. In a shaky opening frame, Christian Binford allowed a leadoff single to Tony Renda, who advanced to second on an error by right-fielder Daniel Rockett. Oscar Tejeda then drove home Renda with a one-out single, giving the P-Nats a 1-0 lead.

       

      Binford was masterful the rest of the way. He completed seven innings and did not allow a hit over his final six frames of work. He retired the last 11 batters he faced and punched out the final four. On the night, Binford struck out seven and did not issue a free pass.

      Wander Suero (2-1, 7.78) picked up the win for Potomac with two shutout innings in relief. Peterson (1-1, 1.05) suffered the tough-luck loss for Wilmington. Gilberto Mendez threw a perfect ninth to earn his third save of the year. Both Binford and Potomac starter Dakota Bacus took a no-decision.

      The Blue Rocks return to action Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium as their six-game home-and-home with the Potomac Nationals moves to Woodbridge, Virginia. Wilmington will send righty Luis Santos (0-0, 3.00)to the mound, while Potomac will counter with Major League All-Star Gio Gonzalez (0-0, 0.00), who is on a Minor League rehab assignment. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate with two more hits on Thursday night against Potomac. Dozier went 2-for-3 at the plate with a run and an intentional walk against the Nationals, raising his batting average to .297 on the season. Since May 20, the Royals' first-round selection in the 2013 Draft is batting .456 (26-for-57) with 10 doubles, 13 RBIs and 13 runs scored. The third-baseman was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for May 19-25, and has continued to do nothing but hit since. Dozier has been better outside of the First State this year, batting .337 on the road and .262 at Frawley Stadium.

      Mark Peterson saw his incredible run of 23 consecutive scoreless innings come to an end in the ninth inning Thursday night against the P-Nats. It was Peterson’s 19th outing of the season, but just the second in which he has allowed a run. The right-handed closer, who was named to the All-Star Team earlier in the week, still owns incredible numbers in 2014. He is now 1-1 with a 1.05 ERA and is 11-for-12 in save tries. Peterson has struck out 18 and walked 10 in 25.2 innings pitched. The blown save also handed Wilmington its first loss of the season when leading at the end of eight innings. The Rocks are now 21-1 in such situations.

      Two of Potomac’s runs were scored in large part due to Wilmington errors. However, the Rocks have been very good defensively overall this season. Wilmington has the fewest number of defensive miscues in the entire Carolina League with 45. Wilmington’s 23 unearned runs are also fewest in the league, one less than Frederick’s 24. Unfortunately, when they have made them, miscues have cost the Blue Rocks. Wilmington is 10-21 in games they have committed at least one error.

      Thursday night’s crowd of 6,073 was the largest at Frawley Stadium this season. It eclipses the previous season-high of 5,614, which came in the Blue Rocks’ April 8 home opener against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Prior to Thursday night, Wilmington’s most recent crowd of over 6,000 fans had been late in the 2013 campaign, on August 20. That game was a 6-2 loss to the Potomac Nationals. Ali Williams, who began the 2014 season with the Blue Rocks before getting promoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, took the loss in that one.

      The rosters for the 2014 California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, presented by Bank of America, were announced on Wednesday by the respective leagues. The game, which will be held at Frawley Stadium on Tuesday, June 17, will feature four players from the host Blue Rocks, as well as five of the top 100 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com. Wilmington pitchers Christian Binford, Jonathan Dziedzic and Mark Peterson, as well as catcher Cam Gallagher, will represent the Blue Crew on the Carolina League squad, the second-most All-Stars from one team in the Carolina League. Binford and Dziedzic have anchored the Blue Rocks starting rotation, with each ranking in the top-10 in the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched. Binford leads the league in total punchouts and also sits top-five in the eight-team loop in batting average against and WHIP. Dziedzic leads the Rocks in wins with five. Peterson has been the top closer in the Carolina League with a league-high 11 saves in as many tries. He has also posted a scant 0.73 ERA and has worked 23 consecutive scoreless frames. Gallagher has been one of the most consistent defensive backstops all season. On offense, he bettered his batting average by 50 points during the month of May. The Carolina League team will be skippered by Wilmington manager Darryl Kennedy. He is in his second season with the Blue Rocks and has the Blue Crew just one game out of first place in the Carolina League North. Wilmington pitching coach Steve Luebber, the longest-tenured coach in Blue Rocks history, will also be on the staff, along with trainer James Stone, who is in this third season with Wilmington and clubhouse manager Josh DiBiase, in his second year with the Rocks. Myrtle Beach has the most participants with seven.

      THEY SAID IT:

       

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:


      “That’s a two game swing right there. Tonight’s a disappointing one. Every closer’s going to blow one, it’s just a matter of time. Peterson’s been good for us but at times he has gotten a little wild and got away with it and tonight he didn’t get away with it. A couple lefties put good swings on him when he was behind in the count, it happens.”

       

      “Really what’s weird is that it’s now June fifth and we’re just playing Potomac. What’s weird is Lynchburg has played 30-plus games in the division and we’ve played 22. We pretty much spent this whole half playing the other division. We’ve got to get it done. We’ve got to win these games and we’ve got to get better at winning close ballgames, one run games have killed us all year. It’s hard to win a half; it’s hard to win a championship when you’re losing one run ballgames.”

       

      Mark [Donato] put a good swing on a ball and hit it the other way. I know at times he’s gotten a little pull happy but it was good to see him go the other way. That was a big hit for us which could have been the game winner. It’s good to get, hopefully, the start of something for him because we need that left-handed bat in the lineup.”

       

      “It doesn’t matter, [Gio Gonzalez] will be on a pitch limit anyway, probably 65 pitches. Hopefully it’ll be one inning. It really doesn’t matter who we face right now, we’ve got to take care of business. We’ve got to win, that’s the bottom line now. Our backs against the wall. We’ve got to go down there and play three hard games and then go to Winston-Salem and play three more.”

       

      Starting-Pitcher Christian Binford:

       

      “I didn’t really feel like I had something to prove but I had something to prove to myself that I can bounce back from that. That first inning I was thinking to myself, ‘No, not again, come on.’ I went back in the dugout and just calmed down and just decided, from then on, to go pitch by pitch and think about later in the game, how far can I get. Just slowing everything down. The middle couple of innings I think I got too quick and left the ball up. Luckily they helped me out and got themselves out a couple of times. Pleffner just missed one, basically right down the middle. It’s little things like that that get you deep into games. I just wanted to get quick outs in later innings to help out the bullpen.”

       

      “It’s a huge honor to represent the Royals and, especially, the Blue Rocks. We’ve had a great pitching staff all year and to share it with Dziedzic and Peterson and Cam, he helps us get through a game with pitching and just knowing hitters and stuff like that. Being able to share it with everybody is absolutely great.”

       

      Closer Mark Peterson:


       “It was a fastball over the middle of the plate [to Pleffner], right where he wanted it. All good things must come to an end.”

    • June 7, 2014 12:27 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Rocks See Four-Run Lead Vanish In Final Frame

      Blue Crew Suffers Crushing Walk-Off Loss To First-Place P-Nats

       

      Woodbridge, VA – For the second consecutive night the Wilmington Blue Rocks let a ninth-inning lead slip through their fingers as they fell to the Potomac Nationals.  After watching the P-Nats rally back from a one-run deficit on Thursday, Wilmington saw a four-tally edge go by the wayside in the ninth inning on Friday at Pfitzner Stadium.  Randolph Oduber's infield-single gave Potomac a wild 11-10 walk-off win, and dropped the Rocks four games out of first place in the Carolina League North with just nine contests remaining in the season's first half.

       

      Daniel Stumpf started the ninth inning on the mound for Wilmington with the Rocks leading, 10-6.  After he punched out the first hitter of the frame, Randolph Oduber, the wheels fell off Stumpf and the Rocks.  Stephen Perez walked and then both Tony Renda and Oscar Tejeda singled to load the bases.  Khayyan Norfork followed that up by drawing a free pass to force in a run, drawing the Nationals within 10-7.  Subsequently, Stumpf was removed from the game for Johnny Walter.  Walter then surrendered back-to-back singles to Will Piwnica-Worms and Mike McQuillan, allowing Potomac to pull within one, 10-9.  Justin Miller tied the game with a sacrifice fly to Bubba Starling in center.  Starling fired a strike to the plate but Cam Gallagher couldn’t handle the throw.  Potomac won it on a walk-off infield single by Oduber, the 10th P-Nats hitter to come to the plate in the inning.

       

      The Rocks dug an early hole and trailed 3-0 entering the third frame.  Major League rehabber Gio Gonzalez needed just 13 pitches to work through the first two innings, but ran into immediate trouble in the third.  Wilmington put its first six batters of the frame on base, including one big swing from Bubba Starling.  After Daniel Rockett and Raul Mondesi singled and Terrance Gore walked, Starling sent a Gonzalez pitch soaring well past the left-field fence for a grand slam.  The Blue Crew added four more tallies off of Gonzalez in the next inning as Wilmington chased the southpaw after just 3.2 frames.  With two outs and nobody on, Wilmington got walks from Starling and Hunter Dozier before three straight run-scoring hits followed off the bats of Michael Antonio, Cody Stubbs and Jack Lopez.

       

      When all was said and done, all nine Blue Rocks had at least one hit.  Wilmington finished the evening with 14 knocks overall, tying its season-high total in that category as well.  Dozier, Antonio, Stubbs and Rockett turned in two hits each.

      The offensive explosion appeared to help erase a rough second start of the Advanced-A career of Blue Rocks pitcher Luis Santos.  The right-hander did not make it through the fourth inning, yielding six runs on eight hits in just 3.2 frames.  Yender Caramo  came to the rescue, however, coming out of the bullpen to toss 4.1 innings without surrendering a single score.  He was in line for the win until the ninth inning.

      The Blue Rocks will continue their series with Potomac at Pfitzner Stadium on Saturday night. Wilmington southpaw Sean Manaea (2-4, 5.09)takes the mound against P-Nats righty John Simms (0-3, 4.42).  First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Blue Crew will return home for a four-game series with the Carolina Mudcats on Thursday. For tickets, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:


      Hunter Dozier continued his recent surge at the plate with two more hits on Thursday night against Potomac. Dozier went 2-for-4 at the plate with a run, an RBI and two free passes, raising his batting average to .301 on the season. The Royals’ first-round selection in the 2013 Draft now has an eight-game hitting streak, matching his longest of the season. He has multiple hits in the last six of those games. During the hitting streak, he is batting .556 (15-for-27) with seven doubles, eight RBIs and four walks. Dozier’s current hot stretch began on May 20. Since that day, he is hitting .459 (28-for-61) with 11 doubles, 14 RBIs and 14 runs scored. The third-baseman was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for May 19-25, and has continued to do nothing but hit since. Dozier has been better outside of the First State this year, batting .337 on the road and .271 at Frawley Stadium.

       

      Bubba Starling hit his first career grand slam in the third inning. It came off of two-time Major League All-Star Gio Gonzalez and gave the Blue Rocks a 4-3 lead at the time. Gonzalez loaded the bases to start the frame and Starling greeted him by crushing a no-doubt-about-it shot to left-center. It was the second grand slam of the season for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The first came on May 6 in Salem when Hunter Dozier hit a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the ninth inning to lead the Blue Rocks to a come-from-behind 6-3 victory over the Red Sox.

       

      For the second straight night, the Wilmington Blue Rocks blew a late lead to the Potomac Nationals. Daniel Stumpf and Johnny Walter combined to allow five ninth inning runs on five hits. They threw a combined 42 pitches, only 18 of which were for strikes. Stumpf threw 22 pitches and nine strikes while Walter hurled 20 pitches and nine strikes. On Thursday night at Frawley Stadium closer Mark Peterson yielded two ninth inning runs to Potomac, as the Nationals won, 3-2, in come-from-behind fashion. Friday night’s walk-off was Wilmington’s third walk-off defeat of the season. The first was an 8-7 defeat at Myrtle Beach on April 21 and the second was a 2-1 loss at Salem on May 5. Wilmington is now 21-2 when leading after eight innings. Both of those losses came in the last two nights.

       

      The Blue Rocks offense has had issues with runners in scoring position all season long. However, on Friday, it found success in those situations.  They went 7-for-15, including four extra-base hits. The effort raised their season average with runners at second or third base to .211 (119-for-563).

       

      THEY SAID IT:


      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

       

      "In the bottom of the ninth we've simply got to throw strikes. With a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, if they beat us on eight straight base hits then fine, you tip your cap to them. But you can't give them free bases and we just walked way too many in the ninth inning there to win a game. You don't deserve to win when you can't throw strikes and close out a game by making them beat you."

      "I'm not really sure what you say to these guys [to try and help them bounce back tomorrow]. I do know there won't be a lot of sleep [on Friday night] I can tell you that for sure."

      "We played eight-and-a-half good innings. Unfortunately you have to play nine to win. Guys swung the bat well. Our offense executed and we put ourselves in position to be successful until the ninth. We should have won that ball game."

      Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!
      www.bluerocks.com

       

    • June 8, 2014 1:31 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

       

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SATURDAY JUNE 7, 2014

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Rocks' Bats Muffled During Fourth Straight Loss To Potomac

      Blue Crew Falls Five Back Of First-Place P-Nats

      Woodbridge, VA – Just one night after the Wilmington Blue Rocks tied their season-high totals in hits and runs scored, the Blue Crew offense endured one of their worst games of the campaign in a 6-1 loss to the Potomac Nationals.  Wilmington struck out 16 times, far and away the most in 2014, and managed just three singles.  The loss was the Rocks' fourth in a row against Potomac, and dropped Wilmington five games behind the first-place P-Nats with just eight contests remaining in the season's opening half.

      John Simms was the story of the evening.  Potomac's starter earned his first professional victory by fanning 14 over seven sterling frames.  The right-hander allowed just two hits and walked only one.  Simms (1-3) needed just 95 pitches to register the 14 punch outs.  He retired the final 14 batters he faced and turned in five different one-two-three innings during his outing.

      Cody Stubbs, Bubba Starling, Hunter Dozier and Raul Mondesi all fanned three times each for the Blue Crew.  Wilmington actually took a brief lead, scoring its only run in the third inning on a single by Jack Lopez, a stolen base and then an RBI single off the bat of Daniel Rockett.  Wilmington would not get another base runner until there was an out in the ninth inning though.

      Potomac wasted little time going in front.  The P-Nats pushed four runs across against Blue Crew starter Sean Manaea (2-5) in the bottom of the third.  A Dozier error and a walk set up Tony Renda's two-run single.  That was followed by a two-run blast to left by cleanup hitter Oscar Tejeda.  Salem added two insurance runs in the sixth against reliever Aroni Nina.

      The Blue Rocks will to avoid a sweep when they conclude their series with Potomac at Pfitzner Stadium on Saturday night. Wilmington right-hander Glenn Sparkman (2-4, 5.09)takes the mound against P-Nats lefty Matthew Spann (4-0, 2.03).  First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. The Blue Crew will return home for a four-game series with the Carolina Mudcats on Thursday. For tickets, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com.

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      Hunter Dozier saw his recent surge at the plate halted on Saturday. Dozier went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in Wilmington's 6-1 setback.  The Royals’ first-round selection in the 2013 Draft had an eight-game hitting streak ended, which matched his longest of the season. He had multiple hits in his last six games prior to Saturday. During the hitting streak, Dozier batted .556 (15-for-27) with seven doubles, eight RBIs and four walks. His hot stretch really began on May 20. Since that day, he is hitting .438 (28-for-64) with 11 doubles, 14 RBIs and 14 runs scored. The third-baseman was named the Carolina League Player of the Week for May 19-25, and had done nothing but hit since until his rare rough night.

      Wilmington reliever Aroni Nina pitched in a game for the first time in almost a full month on Saturday.  Nina spent more than three weeks on the Disabled List with an ailing right shoulder.  He was activated on Tuesday when Rocks outfielder Tyler Chism was released by the Royals.  The right-hander showed a little bit of rust by yielding two runs (one earned) in the sixth, but overall fared pretty well.  He finished his night after 2.1 frames, allowing three hits while walking one and striking out one.  Nina stranded both of the runners he inherited from starter Sean Manaea.  Manaea failed to make it through five innings for the seventh time in 11 starts.  He also increased his team-high total to 21 walks on the season.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      "You have to keep battling and you have to adjust when a guy is locating like [John Simms] was tonight.  The one thing he kept doing tonight was going away, away, away and we never made the adjustment.  We just kept trying to hit the ball out of the park, making really aggressive swings.  You've got to hand it to the guy, he kept executing his game plan and we got beat.  It was as simple as that."

      "You'd like to think we were able to get past what happened on [Friday]. It's baseball and there's a game every day.  You're going to win big ones and you're going to lose heartbreakers, but you've got to show up the next day and you've got to come to play everyday. We didn't show up tonight.  It was like we weren't here."

      "Mathematically we're still in it.  All it would take is basically to win eight straight games.  Even if we don't win the first half though, we've got to start playing better to go into the second half with a little momentum.  That's the thing we've got to do, turn the page and get it going again."

      "[Sean] Manaea had that one bad inning, but I thought he threw okay overall.  The location still isn't there, but for the most part I saw him competing out there really well.  He gave up the two-run single and then the home run, but really settled down from there.  He pitched okay, stuck it out for us and just about got through five innings for us. This was a positive for him, but he's just to try and eliminate that big inning."

      "He was very aggressive and I liked what I saw from [Aroni] Nina [Saturday].  He went out there and went out him with his best stuff.  It was good to have him back out there and the way he was able to eat multiple innings for us was important."

      Infielder Jack Lopez:

      "You have to tip your cap to their pitcher.  He had a good night and we didn't.  We've just got to keep our heads up though.  We're a young squad and we're going to be alright.  We still have a week left until the All-Star break to make our last push, we've just got to keep battling."

      "We were trying to battle, put the ball in play and spoil some pitches, we just couldn't make it happen [Saturday].  We can't worry about it though, because there's another game [Sunday].  We know we'll keep battling and busting our butts to see if we can get a different result.  You can't worry about it though, because all you can control is your effort and we have to make sure we go hard every single day and then see what happens."

    • June 14, 2014 1:50 AM EDT
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      Untitled

      ATTENTION: SPORTS

      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FRIDAY JUNE 13, 2014

       

      CONTACT: MATT JANUS 302-888-5393 OR SETH BERNSTEIN 302-888-2580

      Blue Rocks, Mudcats Split Friday-Night Twin-Bill At Frawley

      Blue Crew Claims Opener While Mudcats Win Wild Nightcap

      Wilmington, DE – The Blue Rocks split a wild doubleheader with the Carolina Mudcats Friday night at Frawley Stadium. Wilmington won the opener easily, 6-0, but dropped the dramatic nightcap, 4-3, to the Mudcats. The twin-bill split left the Blue Crew four games below the .500 mark at 31-35 on the season.

      A three-run blast from Hunter Dozier and outstanding pitching from starter Christian Binford helped the Blue Rocks to a 6-0 victory over the Mudcats in the opener.

      The first three Blue Rocks hitters who stepped to the plate against Carolina starter Cole Sulser in the bottom of the first inning reached base. Jack Lopez led off the frame by reaching safely on an error by third-baseman Yandy Diaz. Bubba Starling then doubled, putting runners at second and third for Dozier. Dozier proceeded to yank a long three-run homer to left, putting the Rocks up 3-0.

      Wilmington would not look back because of Binford’s Brilliance. The right-hander tossed six shutout innings for the Rocks and yielded just three hits. He punched out five Mudcats and did not walk a batter. It was the third consecutive start for Binford without a walk; he has issued just 11 free passes over 12 starts this season.

      The Blue Rocks added a trio of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Dozier lashed a one-out single to kick off the rally and then advanced to second on a base hit by Cody Stubbs. Dozier scored from second to give the Rocks a 4-0 lead when Michael Antonio bounced a ball to third that went off of Diaz’s glove. A Cam Gallagher single loaded the bases for Kenny Diekroeger, who drew a base on balls to force in Stubbs and hand the Blue Crew a 5-0 lead. Daniel Rockett then lifted a sacrifice fly to left, plating Antonio to extend Wilmington’s lead to 6-0.

      The nightcap did not go as well for the Blue Rocks, who rallied to tie the game, 3-3, in the seventh inning, but saw the Mudcats claim a 4-3 victory in extras.

      The Mudcats’ eighth-inning rally began when Jeremy Lucas hit a double down the right-field line off of reliever Yender Caramo. Lucas came around to score on another double down the right-field line by Jerrud Sabourin. That put Carolina up, 4-3, for good, as Wilmington did not score in the home half of the eighth.

      The Blue Rocks trailed, 3-0 entering the bottom of the seventh inning but rallied, scoring three times in the frame to tie it. Terrance Gore’s RBI single with two outs was the big hit of the frame, and it tied the game, 3-3. Prior to Gore’s clutch hit, the Rocks strung together one of the strangest rallies of the season. A walk and three wild pitches by reliever Elvis Araujo, including a dropped-third strike, helped the Blue Crew string together its rally. Daniel Rockett plated Zane Evans for the first run with an RBI single. Araujo’s third and final wild pitch prior to being lifted allowed Mark Donato to score the second tally.

      Carolina jumped ahead, 1-0, with two outs in the fifth inning. LeVon Washington drew a free pass off of Blue Rocks starter Luis Santos and scored on a two-out RBI triple by Todd Hankins. Santos then walked Erik Gonzalez but got Yandy Diaz to fly out to center, avoiding further damage.

      The Mudcats continued their offensive surge against Santos in the next frame, plating two more in the sixth. Lucas led off the sixth with a double and then advanced to third on a groundout by Sabourin. After an intentional walk to Joe Sever, Alex Monsalve plated Lucas with an RBI single to left. Sever moved to third and Monsalve to second on a fielding error by Terrance Gore. Santos uncorked a wild pitch to plate Sever, Carolina’s second run of the frame, and hand the Mudcats a 3-0 lead.

      Lost in the late-game drama was a phenomenal start by Carolina starter Adam Plutko. He pitched six shutout frames and yielded just three hits. Plutko struck out seven and walked only one. The Blue Rocks did not manage to get a single runner past second base against the right-handed UCLA product.

      Binford (4-3, 2.19) picked up his fourth win of the season for Wilmington in the opener, while Sulser (2-6, 4.29) suffered the game-one loss for Carolina. In the nightcap, Grant Sides (1-0, 2.79) earned his first win for the Mudcats, while Caramo (1-4, 3.05) suffered his fourth defeat in game two for the Blue Rocks.

      Wilmington returns to action Saturday night at Frawley Stadium for game three of four against Carolina. The Rocks will send southpaw Sean Manaea (2-5, 5.16) to the mound, while the Mudcats will counter with fellow-lefty Shawn Morimando (6-2, 3.43). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. and fans can listen to the broadcast on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For tickets, call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com. 

      PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:

      Christian Binford has been Wilmington’s best starting pitcher this season. The 6-foot-6 hurler has been downright dominant, en route to amassing a 4-3 record and 2.19 ERA. The right-hander, one of Wilmington’s four All-Stars, owns five of Wilmington’s seven starts of seven innings in length this season. He also sits atop the Carolina League with 79 strikeouts on the year. Binford’s stellar outing was also the Blue Crew’s sixth shutout of the campaign. It was the third time Rocks’ pitching has blanked the Carolina Mudcats; they have also shut out the Winston-Salem Dash twice and the Frederick Keys once. Wilmington’s six shutouts are second in the Carolina League to the Salem Red Sox’s eight.

      Hunter Dozier’s three-run homer in the first inning of game one was his fourth of the season. His four long balls tie him with Cody Stubbs for the team lead. That home run was also Dozier’s first dinger at Frawley Stadium this season. His most memorable long ball is the grand slam he at Salem on May 6 at Salem. It helped lead the Rocks to a come-from-behind, 6-3, victory. The Blue Crew has hit 19 home runs this year, with 11 coming on the road and eight coming at home. Wilmington is 7-6 this season when a Blue Rock leaves the yard.

      Wilmington's loss in the nightcap Friday was its second extra-inning defeat of the campaign. The Blue Rocks are now 1-2 when playing bonus baseball this season. The team's first extra-inning affair was on May 23 at Frawley Stadium against the Frederick Keys. Kenny Diekroeger's walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning handed the Rocks a walk-off victory that night, their fifth in six tries. Their second was earlier in the week, also in the nightcap of a doubleheader, against the Winston-Salem Dash. It came on a walk-off homer by Grant Buckner. The ball appeared to hit off the top of the fence and was immediately ruled a double by base umpire Travis Godec. The Dash protested and Godec conferred with home plate umpire Ben Levin and then overturned the call, awarding Winston-Salem a walk-off win on a home run. Friday night's pair of contests served as Wilmington's sixth doubleheader of the season. The Rocks are now 1-2-3 in twin-bills in 2014, with the team's lone sweep coming on May 21 against the Carolina Mudcats. The Blue Crew won the first contest that night, 9-4, while ripping 11 base hits. They were victorious in the nightcap of that contest, 3-2.

      Wilmington has played well against the Carolina Mudcats in 2014. Despite splitting Friday night’s twin-bill, the Rocks own a 10-5 record against Carolina. They are 5-3 at Frawley Stadium and 5-2 at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, North Carolina.  In their 15 matchups this season, the Rocks are outscoring the Mudcats, 64-42. Collectively, each team is batting .245 against the other. Wilmington owns the better head-to-head ERA, though, with the Blue Crew sporting a 2.71 ERA compared with the Mudcats’ 3.64 ERA. Blue Rocks pitching has struck out 127 Mudcats, while Mudcats pitching has punched out 110 Blue Rocks. At the plate, Hunter Dozier has dominated Carolina to the tune of a .452 batting average in 14 games. He has left the yard twice and driven in 13 while getting on base at a .537 clip against the Mudcats. On the mound, Christian Binford is 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA against Carolina in three starts. He has struck out 21 and walked three over 18.2 innings in those outings.

      THEY SAID IT:

      Manager Darryl Kennedy:

      [Christian] Binford went out and gave us a very good performance. I didn’t think he was that sharp as he as been in the past. But he made pitches when he had to. With guys in scoring position he really [bore] down and made good pitches and got himself out of some semi-jams. He pitched well.”

      “Great job there [by Hunter Dozier with] second and third and nobody out. They had him with two strikes, threw a pretty good changeup that was kept up a little bit and Hunter did a good job putting the bat on the ball and got a home run for us. With [Christian] Binford out there, that was enough to hold them down. We added three there in the sixth inning to take a little pressure off.”

      “You’ve got to hand it to the hitters. They pinched some through the line there. The catcher, usually more of a pull guy, was able to sneak one down the first-base line for a double. The next guy comes up and does a good job of just trying to move the runner over and he hooks it in there for another double. We did a good job by keeping it at one run to give us a better chance in the eighth. It just didn’t happen.”

      “I thought [Luis Santos] threw the ball well tonight. He had a real good game against Frederick his first outing and then kind of ran into some trouble, got the ball up too much, in Potomac. I thought he threw the ball well. He had just one bad inning that really wasn’t that bad of an inning. [Terrance] Gore makes that play all of the time and he wasn’t able to get it and it falls in for that double that turns into a big hit.”

      Terrance [Gore] battled really good on that one. The tying run there, with two outs, at third base. He was able to foul off some good pitches and then got the clutch hit.”

      Starting-Pitcher Christian Binford:

      Nothing [was working for me tonight]. That was one of those games I just had to battle. Everything was just average. I don’t think any of the pitches really stood out. I just tried to get ahead as fast as I could. I threw too many balls. It was just a matter of letting the defense work and they made some great plays tonight, which helped me get to the sixth.”

      “Once I got 2-and-1, 3-and-1, it was just like, if they’re going to hit it, they’re going to hit it. Like I said so many other times, I hate giving up walks. I hate giving it to them. Luckily tonight, when I did give it to them, they didn’t take it. I think two of the three hits were on 0-and-2 counts. I was just nitpicking too much instead of trusting myself.”

      “[My first half was] consistent. I had a couple of bad starts here and there but I learned from them and that was the big thing for me. I’m just trying to go out there and go deep into games and not give up a lot of runs, just like any other pitcher. It’s great having the defense we have behind me. To have that outfield and the infield making plays, it makes your job a lot easier. The first half, though, that’s really all I wanted to do, what I came in here to do, was to be consistent.”

      “I can’t wait to have my family here [for the All-Star Game]. My fiancé will be here with her family, so it’ll be a lot of fun. Last year was a lot of fun meeting the guys and making new friends that I see now all over the place. I think meeting the new guys and just going out there and having some fun [is something to look forward to].”

       

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