Wilmington, DE-Angel Baez was dominant over six innings, while the Wilmington Blue Rocks fended off a late charge by Myrtle Beach to hang on for a 5-2 win on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. The victory was the 60th of the season for Vance Wilson's club, and improved the team to 60-75 and 27-38 in the second-half Northern Division standings. Despite holding on against the Pelicans, the Blue Crew did not receive any help from Lynchburg, who shutout Frederick 11-0. With the win, the Hillcats magic number is one to eliminate Wilmington from playoff contention.
Held off the scoreboard in its road finale at Potomac, the Blue Rocks started quickly against Nick McBride (0-5). Jack Lopez doubled to right-center with one out in the bottom of the first, before moving to third on a successful double-steal with Justin Trapp. Lopez then scored on a wild pitch that snuck through the legs of catcher Joe Maloney.
In the second, the Rocks stretched their lead to 3-0. Following a leadoff walk to Daniel Mateo, Sam Bates doubled home his teammate. Later in the inning, Bates scooted to third on a groundball to the right side and scored on an infield single by Ethan Chapman.
However, McBride would settle in after a rocky start. After the two-out single, the righty would set aside the next 14 Wilmington batters he faced. Meanwhile, he would get a lift from his offense in the seventh. Drew Robinson opened the inning with a triple off Daniel Hernandez that snuck under the mitt of a sliding Tim Ferguson in left. Hernandez then plunked Kellin Deglan before Joe Maloney doubled home both runners to cut the Rocks lead to a single run. But the Blue Crew rebuilt its lead in the home-half of the frame. After a double by Bates, Micah Gibbs clubbed an RBI single to center before coming home on a second base knock by Lopez.
From there, the Birds would get no closer, as Hernandez and Malcom Culver combined to retire six straight in the eighth and ninth.
Wilmington continues its series with Myrtle Beach on Wednesday night. Righty J.C. Sulbaran (1-2, 5.65) will take the mound for the Blue Rocks and will be opposed by right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-0, 3.60). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and the broadcast can be heard on 89.7 WGLS-FM. For ticket information, fans can call 302-888-BLUE or by visit BlueRocks.com.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
Angel Baez turned in his best performance of the season on Tuesday night. Tossing six shutout innings, the righty carried a no-hitter into the fifth, before allowing a one-out single to Royce Bolinger which skidded through the right side. The six frames tied a career-high for Baez who allowed only one hit and struck out five while he negotiated his way around four walks. The longest start of the season for the right-hander, it marked his first six-inning stint since July 30, 2012, when he was pitching for Low-A Kane County. Baez's outing was the culmination of an exciting day for the 22-year-old. Before the game, he was announced as one of Kansas City's eight participants in the Arizona Fall League, and will join current teammate Malcom Culver on the Peoria Javelinas.
Sam Bates turned in his first multi-hit effort as a member of the Blue Rocks in the team's win over Myrtle Beach. Finishing 2-for-4, the Arkansas native added a pair of doubles to go along with an RBI and two runs scored. A player who has provided some pop since his promotion to Advanced-A, five of Bates' first eight hits have gone for extra bases, while he has tallied seven RBIs over his first 11 games in a Wilmington uniform. Joining the club from Rookie-Burlington on August 17, Bates hit .278 with 10 homers and 32 RBIs over 51 games with the Royals.
Ethan Chapman extended his on-base streak to 16 games on Tuesday, thanks to an infield single off Pelicans starter Nick McBride in the bottom of the second. Ending the night 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, Chapman also pushed his hitting streak to eight games, his longest swing as a member of the Blue Rocks this year. Over Chapman's current eight-gamer, he is batting .333 (10-for-30) with two doubles, an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. In the process, it has bumped his batting average from .240 up to .254, the highest it has been since July 13. A player who has saved his best baseball for the season's penultimate month, the Rocks outfielder is hitting .298 over 26 games in August.
While Ethan Chapman saw his hitting streak reach eight games in the series opener, Daniel Mateo was unable to record a knock for the ninth straight game. On the night, the Rocks infielder went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Meanwhile, it marked the first time since August 18 that he had failed to record a hit. Over his season-best eight-game streak, Mateo posted a line of .357 (10-for-28) with two homers, two doubles, seven RBIs and three runs scored. Over that time, his batting average jumped from .230-.239.
Jack Lopez turned in his second multi-hit effort in as many nights, finishing 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. It marked the first time that Lopez had recorded two or more hits in back-to-back games since July 26-27, while he is 4-for-8 over his last two contests. Prior to the two-game surge, the Puerto Rico native was mired in a 1-for-17 slump. Among active players, Lopez is third on the club in multi-hit games this year (24), while he will be searching for several more over the next few days to finish August strong. After batting .295 in the month of June, and .264 in July, Lopez is hitting just .214 over 24 games in the season's second-to-last month.
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