In the second inning and down a run, the Rocks mounted a comeback. Matt Fields worked a full count leadoff walk against Potomac starter Nate Karns. Cheslor Cuthbert mashed a single to move him up a bag. Fields took third on a wild pitch. Nick Van Stratten then smoked a ball over Francisco Soriano's head in center for an RBI double to tie the game at one. With one out, Juan Graterol rolled a ball to short. Ricky Hague made the play to first, allowing Cuthbert to score for a 2-1 advantage but Van Stratten made a quick decision to try and score as well. He was gunned down by Stephen King to extinguish the rally.
In the fourth, Wilmington added a tally. Cuthbert roped a single into left field to start the inning. Van Stratten worked Karns for a walk. With one out, Graterol lofted a ball to the alley in right, scoring Cuthbert to make it 3-1. Van Stratten, once again, tried to score behind Cuthbert and was cut down by Soriano and second baseman Blake Kelso.
They added a key insurance run in the eighth inning. Lane Adams reached on a wild pitch from a strikeout out of the hand of Matt Swynenberg. Taking second on a wild pitch, Van Stratten brought him home with a bouncer up the middle for Wilmington's fourth score.
Pounders (5-4) tossed a career-high seven innings, allowing just an unearned run on four hits. He picked up five strikeouts and did not walk a single batter.
Edwin Carl came on in the eighth and pitched into the ninth but allowed two runs to score on four hits. Robinson Yambati came into a save situation with the tying runs on base and one out in the ninth. Around a base-hit, he struck out a pair of guys with the tying run at third and winning score at second to lock down his third save.
The much decorated Karns (8-4) , who sported MiLB's sixth-best ERA coming into the game, didn't have his best stuff and was taken for three runs in six innings.
The Rocks continue this series with the Nationals on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. Wilmington will go with RHP Leondy Perez (3-4, 4.26) while the P-Nats will throw RHP Rob Gilliam (0-1, 7.04). 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:
With tonight's win and Frederick's loss at Carolina, the Blue Rocks stand 2.0 games ahead of the defending CL champion Keys. Wilmington, Frederick and Potomac are all within 3.5 games of each other for the division's second-half playoff spot. The four-time Carolina League champion Blue Rocks are attempting to make their first playoff appearance since pacing the loop with 84 wins in 2009.
Brooks Pounders tossed a career-high seven innings on Monday. His previous best was six innings, which he had done seven times. The last time came on July 27 against Carolina, when he picked up his fourth win.
For four consecutive days, Blue Rocks starters threw 7.0 innings; Jason Adam on Friday, Andy Ferguson on Saturday, Matt Ridings on Sunday and Pounders on Monday. It has only been done 19 times in total by Rocks pitchers. This stretch represents nearly 21 percent of those outings.
Before Monday's win, the Wilmington Blue Rocks had been 18-18 in the first game of a series. However, away from Frawley Stadium in the opener of a road set, the Rocks had been 5-13.
With the win, the Blue Rocks have guaranteed themselves a winning mark in the head-to-head series. The last time the Rocks won the season series was in 2010, when they went 11-9 against the P-Nats. Since 2008, the Nationals own a 52-43 mark when facing the Blue Crew.
The Rocks slugged 10 hits on Monday. They are 27-11 when they hit that plateau, including four wins in such contests when they reach that level.
After a 15-game stretch against Southern Division squads, Wilmington concludes its regular-season schedule with 17 of their last 21 games against their brothers from the North. They own a 26-17 (.604) mark in intradivisional competition.
After a nice three-game stretch, Rocks three-hole hitter Lane Adams had a tough day on Monday. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and also bounced into a double play. Minus the numbers of the since-promoted prospect Brian Fletcher, three-hole hitters have a meager average of .212 (77-for-363) with 69 strikeouts.
No one in the Carolina League has played more one-run ballgames than the Wilmington Blue Rocks, with 42 such contests. The Rocks have won 20 of those games, tied for second as they only trail Myrtle Beach (22) in that category.
The Blue Rocks now have 29 come-from-behind wins. They have trailed at some point in 53.7% of their 54 victories.