In the ninth inning, the Hillcats took advantage of a miscue with Nick Graffeo on the mound. With one out, Braeden Schlehuber sent a ball to deep left center. Lane Adams appeared to have a beat on it but could not haul it in. The ball kicked away far enough for Schlehuber to advance to third. A walk was issued to David Rohm after Graffeo was ahead in the count 0-2. He felt behind Matt Weaver and offered him a free pass to load the sacks. Emerson Landoni poked a ball to second that Angel Franco fielded. He flipped slowly to second in trying to get the ball out of his glove. Getting one out, Piterson tumbled on Weaver's take out slide and he short-armed a toss to first base which was beaten out by Landoni, allowing the go-ahead score to come in for a 3-2 Lynchburg lead.
The Rocks scored the first two runs of the game against one of the of the Carolina League's best starters in Gus Schlosser. With two outs in the first inning, Wilmington made their move. A single from Lane Adams through the right side kicked off the rally. Nick Van Stratten was pegged with a pitch in the elbow. First pitching swinging, Cheslor Cuthbert shot a laser into left field for the game's first run. Murray Watts then roped one to right center to add another tally to make it 2-0.
In the fourth, the Hillcats struck back against Wilmington starter Leondy Perez. With two outs, Adam Milligan bashed a solo homer on a line to the second tier of signage in right field to cut the deficit to 2-1.
They knotted it up in the fifth. Schlehuber slipped a ball down the right field line past first baseman Watts and legged it out for a triple. A few pitches later, Rohm tied the game with a bouncer up the middle. Rohm made it to third base after a stolen base and a fly out in foul territory to Geulin Beltre. With two outs, however, Mycal Jones fanned to end the threat.
The Rocks head to Frederick, MD for five games in four days with the Frederick Keys. It all gets started on Monday at 5 p.m. as the Wilmington and Frederick finish a suspended game from July 26. A seven-inning contest will follow. Wilmington will throw RHP Elisaul Pimentel (3-1, 2.76) in Game One and RHP Jason Adam (5-11, 3.57) in Game Two. Frederick has not announced a starter for Game One but have tabbed RHP Devin Jones (5-0, 2.25). Broadcast coverage begins at 4:30 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 Sunday's loss and Frederick's rainout with Winston-Salem, the Blue Rocks hold a 2.5 game lead over the defending CL champion Keys. They have won eight of their last 10 contests and 10 of 14. The Blue Crew has owned at least a share of first place on every day but one since the start of this spurt. Wilmington, Frederick and Potomac are all within 5.0 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.
Andy Ferguson allowed one run over 6.2 innings in a team win at Salem on August 5. It was the first of the squad's 10 quality starts over its last 13 games. That includes six innings of two-run ball from Leondy Perez on Sunday afternoon. One of the exceptions in the 12-game string was a five-inning, no-run performance by Elisaul Pimentel in a 2-1 defeat of Winston-Salem on August 7. The Rocks had won every game this month in which they have received a quality start until Sunday's 3-2 defeat.
Perez matched a season-high in innings pitched with six frames. It was the first time since May 28 at Carolina when he allowed three runs (two earned) in a 4-3 win.
The Blue Rocks posted a winning mark at home against Lynchburg with six wins and four losses against the 'Cats at Frawley this season. The Rocks have not had a losing record or less than five wins against the Hillcats on the Riverfront since 2006 when they went 4-5. Should Wilmington win the second half, it would host Game 1 of the N.D.C.S. against the 'Cats. If Lynchburg wins both halves, it would host every game in the best-of-three set against whoever it opposes.
Wilmington concludes its regular-season schedule with 11 of its last 15 games against its brothers from the North. The Rocks own a 30-19 (.612) mark in intradivisional competition.
The Rocks' league-leading 45th one-run game put them at 22-23 in such affairs. In 17 meetings with the Hillcats, 11 of the games have been decided by one run. Wilmington is 5-6 in one-run games against the 'Cats and had won six straight games decided by one run before Sunday.
For the series against Lynchburg, Wilmington starters logged 34 innings of work, pitching to a 0.79 ERA. One of the four Lynchburg tallies was an unearned score. Hillcat batters swung at a .149 (18-for-121) clip during the four-game set.