Former prospect Brandon Erbe (2-3) threw just three strikes as he walked the first four batters of the fateful frame. He fell behind Orlando Calixte 3-1 when a visit including athletic trainer Patrick Wesley resulted in Erbe getting lifted. The team's designated hitter, Jeremy Nowak, entered for his first professional pitching appearance. He then walked Calixte and gave up a two-run single to Cheslor Cuthbert. Two outs later, Angel Franco lifted a routine fly ball to center field that Trent Mummey dropped for an error and two more runs.
The teams combined to use a dozen pitchers including one position player on each side. That came in part because neither starter lasted five innings. In fact, Wilmington had action in its bullpen in the first frame when Elisaul Pimentel needed 30 pitches to face five batters. Home runs by Garabez Rosa and Aaron Baker put Frederick up 3-0 through three while Wilmington roared back with six unanswered runs.
The Blue Rocks tied the game thanks to four straight two-out extra-base hits in the fourth and took the lead on Cuthbert's fifth-inning single. Calixte's seventh-inning double made it 6-3 but Frederick would fight back. In the ninth, down 6-5, Baker faced Wilmington's new closer, Sam Runion. On the first pitch he saw, Baker bashed his league-leading 17th homer of the season to left-center to tie the game and hand Runion (2-1) his first blown save of the season. Runion got the win with four innings of one-run ball.
The three-game set concludes at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night. Wilmington right-hander Jason Adam (1-9, 3.95) gets the nod. Frederick has yet to name its starter. Broadcast coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. as studio host Rob Cunningham brings fans the Rocks Report Pre-game Show, presented by Wawa, on 89.7 WGLS-FM and online at wgls.rowan.edu.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
The Blue Rocks set new season-high marks for runs scored in a game (12); hits in a game (17); innings played in a game (13); time of game (4:35); and pitchers used in a game (6). The six-run 13th tied as the most productive single inning for Wilmington's offense this year.
The Blue Rocks are in the midst of facing only divisional foes over a stretch of 13 straight and 17 of 20. The Rocks are 17-34 against Southern Division squads and 18-13 against their brothers in the North.
In the first half, the Blue Rocks scored just 227 runs for a league-low 3.2 runs/game average. Despite playing two seven-inning games and being held to one run on Sunday, Wilmington has scored 68 runs over its first 12 games of the second stanza for an average of 5.7 runs/game. The team that hit 31 home runs over the 70-game first half, the second-lowest total in the league, has bashed 11 early in the second. The Blue Crew hit a league-worst .231 in the first half but owns a .273 (114-for-418) contact clip so far this half.
With Matt Fields' second homer in as many days, the Rocks' home-road home run split widened all the more. An amazing 37 (88%) of the team's 42 homers have come away from Frawley Stadium.
Before the game, the Royals announced closer Nick Rogers received a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas. The corresponding move had southpaw Antonio Cruz join the club from Rookie Surprise. Cruz made his Wilmington debut with two innings of scoreless relief, but allowed two of three inherited runners to cross.