In the second inning, the Rocks drew first blood against Myrtle Beach starter Randy Henry. Lane Adams led off the frame and reached on an error by shortstop Hansir Alberto when a bouncing ball went right between his legs. With one out, Jose Bonilla blooped a single to right field that sent Adams to third base. Juan Graterol followed with a line single to center that plated Adams for a 1-0 lead.
The Rocks were three outs away from victory. Brett Nicholas had other plans as he led off the ninth inning with a laser home run that just cleared the fence in right field against reliever Edwin Carl to tie the game at a run apiece.
In the tenth, Myrtle Beach went ahead. With two outs, the Pelicans bats woke up. Hanser Alberto singled and Nicholas followed with a rope shot into left. Christian Villanueva cranked a double into the right field corner that scored Alberto to give Myrtle Beach the 2-1 lead.
Ben Rowen locked down the save in the ninth after allowing a one-out base-hit to Cheslor Cuthbert. It was his seventh save in seven tries.
Jimmy Reyes got his second win for the Pelicans. He pitched 2.2 innings of shutout baseball, allowing two runners to reach and striking out four.
Henry went 6.1 innings and allowed one unearned run on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts.
Jason Adam started for Wilmington and took a tough no decision. He tossed 7.1 innings of shutout baseball, chalking up nine strikeouts and surrendering just three hits and a walk. He hasn't recorded a win since April 23 at Salem.
The Rocks conclude this three-game series against the Pelicans on Monday at 7:05 p.m. Wilmington's RHP Matt Ridings (2-0, 3.38) hooks up with Myrtle Beach's RHP Randol Rojas (7-1, 2.33). Broadcast coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. as studio host Rob Szczepanik 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:
Jason Adam struck out a career-high nine batters. His career-best before that was eight on June 2 of last year when he threw at Lake County. His season-high this year was seven, which he did three times with the most recent happening on June 14 against Winston-Salem.
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 posting a sum of one run between the bookend games of last week, Wilmington has scored 102 runs over its first 18 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 23 early in the second. The Blue Crew hit a league-worst .231 in the first half, but owns a .270 (172-for-636) contact clip so far this half.
After closing a run of 13 straight games against only divisional foes at 7-6, the Rocks record against Southern Division squads dipped to 17-36 after Sunday's loss. They are 19-16 against their brothers in the North.
The Blue Rocks had never been beaten when leading after eight innings. They were 25-0 in those circumstances until Sunday's loss. Only one other team in the Carolina League has an unblemished mark in that situation; the Salem Red Sox are 36-0.
The Rocks dropped to 4-11 in day games and 3-11 in games on Sundays.
The Rocks are at 36-52, 16 games under .500 for the year, tying their season-low watermark. They were 29-45 back on June 24.
Wilmington has not had its starter collect a winning decision since Brooks Pounders' earned his lone triumph on June 26 at Potomac. In fact, that's the team's only win by a starting pitching since Sugar Ray Marimon went to 4-0 with a victory against Carolina. Since Sugar's success, the team has played 29 games, going 9-21 in that time. It is no coincidence that three starters suffered injuries at the start of his long one-win run. Santiago Garrido, Greg Billo and Leondy Perez have all been on the shelf since suffering their respective injuries over a six-day span from June 2-8.
For the second night in a row, a Blue Rocks starter fired a quality start. Jason Adam went 7.1 innings scoreless on Sunday after Elisaul Pimentel went six innings of two-run ball on Saturday. It is the team's third quality start since June 15. It is the second since Ventura allowed two runs over seven innings in a team triumph at Potomac on June 25.