Wilmington, DE-Deadlocked after nine innings of play, the Wilmington Blue Rocks were hurt by a 10th inning wild pitch, as Vance Wilson's club fell to the Winston-Salem Dash 5-4 in the regular season finale. The loss denied Wilmington a .500 record at home, while the team closed the season with a final mark of 63-77 and 30-40 in the second-half Northern Division standings.
Winston-Salem snatched the game's first lead in the top of the second. With the bases loaded, Joe De Pinto grounded into an unusual double-play that scored Courtney Hawkins. At first the run was not counted because both umpires thought the twin-killing resulted in a pair of force outs. However, after a lengthy conversation between innings, the second out was deemed to be part of a timing play, meaning Hawkins was allowed to score because he crossed home before the final out of the inning was recorded.
In the home-second the Rocks answered back, scoring three times off Dash starter Terance Marin. After singles by Sam Bates and Parker Morin, Ethan Chapman doubled down the left field line to even the count at one. Continuing the hit parade, Jack Lopez followed with a two-run single through the left side to make it 3-1 Blue Rocks.
Nearing the end of his line, Angel Baez endured a tough fifth inning which saw Winston-Salem pull back in front. A double by Jake Brown started the stanza, while Joe De Pinto singled to right putting a pair of men in scoring position. Not wanting to waste the opportunity, Jeremy Farrell slugged a three-run homer to left to put the Dash back on top by one.
In the sixth, the Rocks would get the run back on singles by Justin Trapp and Bates as well an RBI base knock by Tim Ferguson. Unfortunately, the visitors would have the last say in the 10th inning. With Cody Fassold (5-9) in the game, Hawkins singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He then moved to third on a pair of free passes, before coming home on a wild pitch. In their last at-bats the Rocks went quietly, as Geulin Beltre popped out to second to end the game.
For ticket information regarding the 2014 season, fans can call 302-888-BLUE or by visit BlueRocks.com.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
Angel Baez drew a no-decision in his final start with the Blue Rocks in 2013. Over five innings, the righty allowed four runs on seven hits, but tied his season-high with seven strikeouts. Despite missing more than three months with a hand injury, the righty posted respectable second-half numbers in limited action. Over five starts, he went 3-1 with a 4.38 ERA, while Wilmington often enjoyed success when Baez took the mound. Taking into account three outings in April, the Blue Crew went 6-2 when the 22-year-old pitched. Rated the No, 18 prospect in the Kansas City Royals system by Baseball America, Baez has been tabbed to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, widely considered the premier offseason training ground for minor leaguers.
Sam Bates finished his season strong, going 2-for-5 with a run scored. It was his second multi-hit effort as a member of the Blue Rocks, and allowed him end his Advanced-A season with a .245 batting average over 15 contests. An immediate contributor on offense, Bates notched eight RBIs, while five of his 12 hits went for extra-bases. Micah Gibbs also enjoyed a good day at the plate. Entering the final game of the season with a .182 batting average, the former Chicago Cubs farmhand cleared the Mendoza line, going 2-for-4 with a stolen base. In his final four games with the Rocks, Gibbs went a combined 4-for-12, to raise his batting average from .167-.208.
On Monday, Wilmington came up just short of sweeping Winston-Salem. A team that had been a thorn in the Blue Rocks side all season, Vance Wilson's club claimed three of the last four head-to-head battles, but ultimately ended the year with a 5-15 mark against the Dash. Monday's setback was also a rare defeat in an extra-inning game for Wilmington. In 2013, the Blue Crew finished 10-6 in contests stretching past regulation. That included an impressive 18-inning victory over Salem on August 13, the longest game in the Carolina League all season.
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