Wilmington starter Andy Ferguson only had to face one man over the minimum through his first five innings, striking out eight batters. In total, he went 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on six hits. In the meantime, his offense went to work.
The Blue Rocks got on the board quickly and did so with a two-out rally in the first inning. Cheslor Cuthbert reached with a walk. After a wild pitch from Nats starter Robbie Ray, Cuthbert slid up to second. Matt Fields then smacked a ball to first baseman Stephen King who tried to field the ball off to his side. The ball didn't find his glove as it skipped into right field, scoring Cuthbert for a 1-0 lead on the Potomac error.
In the fourth, Wilmington boosted their lead when five straight men reached base. Fields hammered a homer to dead center field to double the lead to 2-0. Lane Adams roped a double up the alley in right field. A walk was then issued to Brett Eibner. Geulin Beltre sliced a double down the right field line that scored Adams for a 3-0 advantage. Kevin David bended a single into left that brought home Eibner and Beltre to make the lead 5-0.
The Rocks added a pair of runs in the fifth inning to jump out 7-0. The Nats scored three runs late to lessen the deficit.
After taking the first two, the Rocks meet up again with the Potomac Nationals on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Wilmington's RHP Jason Adam (1-9, 3.94) hooks up with Potomac's LHP Matt Grace (4-8, 6.12). Broadcast coverage begins at 6:35 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:
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 122 runs over its first 21 games of the second stanza for an average of 5.8 runs/game. The team that hit 31 home runs over the 70-game first half, the second-lowest total in the league, has bashed 28 through 21 games in the second half. The Blue Crew hit a league-worst .231 in the first half, but owns a .273 (202-for-740) contact clip so far this half.
For the second time in a row, a Blue Rocks starting pitcher picked up a victory. Andy Ferguson notched one on Thursday night after Brooks Pounders did it on Wednesday. Pounders also had one on June 26 at Potomac. Those have been the only three wins 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 33 games, going 11-22 in that time. That span began after Santiago Garrido, Greg Billo and Leondy Perez went on the shelf during a June 2-8 stretch.
The Blue Rocks have been bashing homers at an incredible rate. Wilmington entered this homestand with five home runs over its first 39 home games. It already has seven through five games on this homestand. Since failing to homer on June 30, the Blue Rocks have slammed 21 homers over a stretch of just 11 games.
Matt Fields hit his eighth home run in a span of 11 games and 19 games overall. To put it in perspective, he is second on the team in home runs only to Brett Eibner, who has 11 dingers. It took Eibner 52 games to hit eight home runs.
This series with Potomac will end a stretch with 17 of 20 games against Northern Division opponents. The Rocks are 18-36 against teams from the South and 21-16 versus their brothers in the North (8-4 versus Potomac).
Today, the Blue Rocks announced a two-year extension of their Player Development Contract (PDC) with the Kansas City Royals. The agreement lengthens the partnership through the 2014 season.
The eight runs put up by the Blue Rocks at Frawley on Thursday was the largest run output in a home contest since they hung nine runs on the Salem Red Sox in a ballgame on May 1.