Up 4-1 in the sixth, things were going the Rocks way and they appeared to be on their way to a fourth straight win. With two outs and a man on, the Mudcats would not go away quietly against Wilmington's Chase Boruff. Jesus Aguilar blooped a single into no man's land in right which scored Delvi Cid from first base to cut the deficit to 4-2. Carlos Moncrief worked a walk. Trouble really started to brew when shortstop Orlando Calixte dropped an easy grounder off the bat of Ronny Rodriguez that loaded the bases. Three pitches later, Anthony Gallas tattooed a grand slam that went completely out of the stadium in left field, giving the Mudcats the lead at 6-4.
They added two more runs in the seventh to make it 8-4. After the bottom of the seventh ended, the tarp was called for as the rain started to come down heavy just moments later. The game went into a 36-minute delay before the contest was called and the score went final.
All of this came after the Blue Rocks scored four of the game's first five runs. They opened the scoring in the second inning with a two-run homer from Juan Graterol. A sacrifice fly came from Whit Merrifield with the bases loaded in the third inning to make the lead 3-1. With one out in the fifth inning, Matt Fields slammed a home run into left center field to boost the advantage to 4-1.
Leondy Perez made his first start for Wilmington since June 8. He went four innings, allowing a lone tally on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Will Roberts claimed the victory for Carolina as he went five innings in relief of Francisco Jimenez. In those frames, he allowed two runs on six hits with strike outs and did not walk a batter.
The Rocks finish this series with the Carolina Mudcats on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Wilmington's RHP Jason Adam (3-10, 3.65) and Carolina's RHP Joseph Colon (0-2, 10.61) will go for each side. Broadcast coverage begins at 1:05 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:
With the loss and wins from Potomac and Lynchburg, the Blue Rocks stay in sole possession of first place, but now only lead the North Division by 0.5 games.
The Blue Rocks made a pair of errors on Friday night and won. They were not as lucky on Saturday, making a pair of miscues and losing the game. This four error stretch in their last two games comes after they only made two total errors in their last 13 games.
For a second straight night, and the 13th time in 25 games, Matt Fields crushed a home run and went 2-for-4. His seventh straight game with a hit crested his average to a season-best .317. He has been particularly powerful this month, hitting to a triple slash of .364/.438/.838 with 13 homers and 19 RBIs over 25 games played. His (un)lucky 13 dingers lead the team and ranks seventh in the Carolina League.
Chase Boruff, who allowed the grand slam, has struggled against Carolina this year. In 7.1 IP, he holds an 8.59 ERA. He has allowed 11 total runs (seven earned) on 11 hits and six walks to go along with 10 strikeouts.
The Blue Rocks allowed their second grand slam of the season, a sixth inning shot from Anthony Gallas off Boruff. The other one came from Tyler Sample on Monday night, when Roderick Bernadina of Frederick smoked a salami shot to left field.
Friday kicked off a stretch of 15 straight games against Southern Division squads. After a heartbreaker on Saturday, the Rocks own a 22-41 (.359) record in interdivisional play. That is in stark contrast to the 25-17 (.595) mark in intradivisional competition. Once this long run against the South concludes, Wilmington's schedule ends with 18 of the final 22 contests against its brothers in the North.
Wilmington has scored at least four runs in eight straight games, going 6-2 in that time. The franchise had not turned that trick since an eight-game stretch from Aug. 3-10, 2010.