Wilmington, DE-Exercising extreme patience, the Wilmington Blue Rocks benefited from eight walks and a three-run fifth to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 8-3 on Saturday night at Frawley Stadium. The eight free rides are the third-most Vance Wilson's club has received in a game this season, while the Rocks translated Dash control woes into six unanswered runs. With the victory, the Blue Crew improved to 62-76 on the season and 29-39 in the second-half Northern Division Standings.
Winston-Salem cracked the scoreboard in the initial frame, using doubles by Jeremy Farrell and Kevan Smith to make it 1-0. However, the Rocks snatched the lead in the home-half of the frame, via a two-run homer by Dennis Raben.
In the second, the Dash reclaimed the lead with a multi-run inning of its own. After Tripp Davis walked Mark Haddow, Josh Richmond slammed a two-run homer off the second level of signage in right.
The Blue Crew would pull even in the third on an RBI single by Sam Bates before seizing control in the fifth. Losing all semblance of command, Dash starter Jake Cose walked Justin Trapp, surrendered a single to Raben and issued a second free ticket to Bates to pack the sacks for Daniel Mateo. He would also draw a walk to force in the go-ahead run, while an RBI single by Parker Morin brought Cose's night to a close. With the bases still loaded, new pitcher Brad Goldberg then walked Tim Ferguson to force in the third run of the frame.
Wilmington added single tallies in the sixth and seventh to complete its scoring. With two outs in the sixth, Raben slugged a solo homer off the batter's eye in center, while Ethan Chapman added an RBI double to left one inning later.
In relief, the quartet of Cory Hall (1-2), Wade Davis, Louis Coleman and Tyler Sample was virtually flawless, allowing just one hit over five innings while striking out 10.
Wilmington and Winston-Salem continue their series on Sunday afternoon. Righty Leonel Santiago (3-3, 4.30) takes the mound for the Blue Rocks and will be opposed by righty Bryan Blough (11-10, 3.97). First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 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:
Dennis Raben had a monster night at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs. It was the eighth multi-homer game of his career, while it marked the second time in 2013 that Raben had hit a pair of home runs in a game. He last accomplished the feat on July 8 against Frederick at Frawley Stadium. In the process, it allowed him to regain the team home run lead from Justin Trapp. Currently up to 12 on the campaign, nine of Raben's longballs have come on the Riverfront. Ending the month of August in style, the Rocks infielder hit .298 with five home runs and 14 RBIs over 27 games.
Tripp Davis picked up a no-decision in his final start with the Blue Rocks in 2013. Posting a line that was eerily similar to that of his last start, the lefty allowed three runs on five hits over four innings. Still, he exhibited better command, walking only one after issuing a career-worst three free passes his last time out. Signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent out of NJIT in mid-June, Davis finished with an 0-1 record and a 4.50 ERA as a member of the Blue Rocks this year. Prior to joining the club, he went 2-3 and posted a 3.32 ERA with Kansas City's AZL affiliate in Surprise.
Mired in a 3-for-17 slump coming into Saturday, Parker Morin found his footing in the series opener, finishing 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. It was his first multi-hit effort since August 13 versus Salem, while it moves his batting average back over the .220 mark. A player who is happy to see the calendar flip, Morin hit just .222 in August, while his season average never eclipsed the .230 plateau in the season's second-to-last month.
On Saturday, Wade Davis made his first appearance in Blue Rocks uniform. Opening the season in the Kansas City rotation, the right-hander was transferred to Wilmington earlier on Saturday in preparation for a move to the Royals bullpen. Dominant over two innings in relief, he allowed just one hit and registered five strike outs. Louis Coleman also made his second appearance out of the bullpen after joining the Blue Rocks from Kansas City on Thursday. Coming on for the eighth inning, the righty struck out the side. Originally a fifth round pick by the Royals out of LSU, Coleman also pitched for Wilmington during part of the 2009 season. In 10 games with Wilmington that year, he went 3-1 and tallied a 1.26 ERA.
After struggling against Winston-Salem for most of the season, the Blue Rocks picked up a decisive win in the series opener. Entering the game, Wilmington was just 3-14 against its Southern Division foe in 2013, while Saturday's triumph was just the second over the Dash at Frawley Stadium this year. Meanwhile, the victory preserved the possibility of the Blue Rocks finishing .500 at home. To become reality, Wilmington needs to pull a sweep of the Dash. This season, Winston-Salem has only been swept on three occasions.
Blue Rocks Baseball = AffordaFUNability!