Telis' second hit of the night scored Josh Richmond from second base for the decisive tally. Richmond got aboard with a five-pitch leadoff walk from reliever Antonio Cruz (1-1), who allowed his first Wilmington run and suffered his first CL setback on the same night.
It spoiled a great start by Andy Ferguson who tied his career-high mark with seven innings of work. The former Arkansas State star struck out four and allowed just two runs on six hits. He faced the minimum over the first four innings while his offense built a 2-0 lead. Whit Merrifield began the game with his third leadoff homer of the year and his seventh overall. In the fourth, Matt Fields doubled with one down and later scored on Brett Eibner's two-out single to right against starter Wilmer Font.
Then came Ferguson's lone shaky frame in the fifth as four straight hits tied the game. Teodoro Martinez and Edwin Garcia drove in the runs as Cruz loosened for the first time. But Ferguson struck out Richmond and induced a fly-out to left from Odubel Herrera to end the inning. He retired eight of the last nine he faced.
His counterpart, Font, left a tie game following five frames of two-run ball while whiffing six. Jimmy Reyes (3-2) then struck out five over three scoreless bridge innings for the win and Ben Rowen notched his ninth save in as many tries with a perfect final frame.
The four-game set concludes on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. A pair of the league's most talented and hard-luck right-handers will be on the hill as Wilmington's Jason Adam (2-9, 3.76) opposes Kyle Hendricks (4-8, 2.81). 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:
On the season, Tomas Telis is hitting .264 with an OPS of .662. In 13 games against the Blue Rocks, he is hitting .392 with an OPS of 1.020 including half of his home runs.
Matt Fields continues to tear up CL pitching. He went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in extending his hitting streak to seven games. His efforts lifted his overall batting average to .300 for the first time. In 16 games this month, he is hitting .365 (23-for-63) with 15 extra-base hits (nine homers), 11 RBIs and an OPS of 1.364. The rest of the team is hitting more than 100 points lower on the month at .258.
The Blue Rocks' struggles against Southern Division teams continued as they fell to 18-39 against those clubs. That includes an 8-22 mark when in a Southern ballpark. Wilmington is 23-16 overall against its brothers in the North.
In 15 games against the Blue Rocks this season, Myrtle Beach's pitching staff owns a 1.14 ERA and a .180 batting average against. The Blue Rocks have been outscored 56-31 in those meetings.
In addition to 14 of the 31 runs being unearned, another reason the Pelicans possess such a good ERA against the Blue Crew is their walk rate. Over 134 innings in the head-to-head meetings, Myrtle Beach has issued a total of 34 walks or 2.3 per nine innings. During that time, the Pelicans have also registered 147 strikeouts for 4.3:1 K:BB ratio and an average of nearly 9.9/9 IP.
For the third straight night, the Carolina League's top pitching staff held the Blue Rocks to six hits or less. Wilmington has hit .170 (16-for-94) on the series with 11 singles.
The Blue Rocks are glad to have just one game left at Pelicans Ballpark this season where they are now 2-7.
Ben Rowen has faced Wilmington five times. In those meetings, he has five saves over 6.1 scoreless innings, a .105 (2-for-19) batting average against and a WHIP of 0.47 thanks to just one walk.
The Blue Rocks fell to 18-32 on the road with their sixth loss over their last seven road games. Only Potomac (12-34) has a worse road winning percentage in the league.
No CL squad has played more one-run games than Wilmington which fell to 15-20 in single-score affairs.