The Rocks held a 5-2 edge going into the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Ricky Hague walked, signaling the end of the night for Wilmington starter Leondy Perez. Chase Boruff came on in relief. A single from Jason Martinson moved Hague to third. A wild pitch from Boruff moved up both runners, making it 5-3. A single from Jeff Howell snuck through the left side, once again putting runners on the corners. Another wild pitch from Boruff made it a one-score game. Moments later, Stephen King tripled through right fielder Geulin Beltre to tie the score. With the infield in, JP Ramirez singled to bring home the go-ahead run.
Boruff was replaced by Tyler Sample, who also struggled. He walked the first two guys he saw in Francisco Soriano and Blake Kelso. A long sacrifice fly from Matt Skole made it a 7-5 Nationals lead.
The Blue Rocks had scored the game's first five runs. Brett Eibner smoked a solo homer in the third off Potomac starter Rob Gilliam. Nick Van Stratten reached second on a single and error. A single from Murray Watts through the right side with two outs made it 2-0.
A leadoff single from Jose Bonilla started the fourth. Luis Piterson moved him up to second with a single. Orlando Calixte flied a ball to deep center that Soriano tracked down on the run. Bonilla ran right through third base and scored on the sac fly. Piterson moved up to second on the throw to home. Moments later, he swiped third and after Kelso dropped the ball at third, Piterson scored standing.
A one-out single from Matt Fields kicked off a rally in the fifth. With two outs, Beltre bashed a ball to deep center that spun Soriano around several times before dropping the ball and allowing Fields to score and stretch the Wilmington lead to 5-0.
The P-Nats bullpen was great over the last four innings. The likes of Adam Olbrychowski, Aaron Barrett and Rob Wort allowed four hits, two walks and struck out six batters. Olbrychowski got his fifth win while Wort picked up his ninth save.
The Rocks conclude this series with the Nationals on Wednesday at 12:05 p.m. Wilmington will throw RHP Jason Adam (4-11, 3.73) while the P-Nats have chosen LHP Robbie Ray (4-9, 5.99). Broadcast coverage begins at 11:35 a.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 loss and Frederick's win at Carolina, the Blue Rocks stand 1.0 game ahead of the defending CL champion Keys. Wilmington, Frederick and Potomac are all within 2.5 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.
After a 15-game stretch against Southern Division squads, Wilmington concludes its regular-season schedule with 16 of their last 20 games against their brothers from the North. They own a 26-18 (.590) mark in intradivisional competition.
Nick Van Stratten got a chance to swing from the three-hole on Tuesday. He responded with a 3-for-5 night with a run scored in place of the resting Lane Adams. Minus the numbers of the since-promoted prospect Brian Fletcher, three-hole hitters have a meager average of .217 (80-for-368) with 71 strikeouts.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks tied an unkind mark on Tuesday night. They matched their largest fall-from-ahead loss as they blew a five-run lead for the second time this season. It last happened on June 23 in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Carolina.
Chase Boruff took the blown save (3) and loss (8) in Tuesday's game. He allowed four hits and four runs to score and did not record an out. His August ERA has now ballooned to an unsightly 29.45. He has allowed 13 hits and three walks in four appearances and 3.2 innings pitched.