Salem, VA - A road trip filled with tough luck continued for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-5) as they fell in the series finale against the Salem Red Sox (6-1) by the score of 7-4 Wednesday night at Haley Toyota Field. Chase Vallot homered in the losing effort while Kort Peterson and Nick Heath each picked up two hits for Wilmington. The Rocks have now dropped four straight contests.
Tied 1-1 after three innings, Salem tacked on a single tally in the fourth inning to make it a 2-1 deficit for the Blue Crew. In the fifth inning, Wilmington scored three runs thanks to a Chris DeVito RBI single to plate Gabriel Cancel and a two-run homer off the bat of Vallot gave the Blue Rocks their first lead of the game, 4-2. The Red Sox quickly answered with a trio of runs of their own in the bottom half of the frame. Chris Madera singled home a run to make it 4-3 before Bobby Dalbeck tied the game on an RBI groundout. Jerry Downs put Salem ahead for good with a run-scoring single to right field to put the Blue Rocks behind 5-4. Dalbeck drove in two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the game its final score of 7-4.
Once again, the rallying Rocks almost mounted a comeback in the eighth inning. Meibrys Viloria led the inning off with a single and Heath laced a two-out double to put runners at second and third before the threat was ended when Rudy Martin went down on strikes.
The Blue Rocks will play at Frawley Stadium for the first time this season and begin a seven-game homestand in Wilmington when they welcome the Lynchburg Hillcats to the Riverfront on Thursday, April 12. Righty Anthony Bender (1-0, 2.25 ERA) makes the start for the Blue Rocks while fellow right-hander Zach Plesac (0-1, 11.57 ERA) climbs the hill for Lynchburg. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus and Cory Nidoh will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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Outfielder Kort Peterson has been scorching at the plate over his last three games. Wednesday night, he picked up his third straight multi-hit affair collecting two singles in the loss. He added two more hits Tuesday night after he turned in a three-hit performance in the series opener on Monday. In his last three games, the outfielder is 7-for-his-last-13 with two doubles, a run scored and RBI. The 23-year-old started the season 1-for-11 through his first three games. Last season, Peterson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury after his torrid start with the Blue Rocks. He played in just 11 games, but hit .333 (13-for-39) with three doubles, two triples and a home run.
The Blue Rocks continue to try and find that clutch hit that has been eluding the team through the first week of the season. Wilmington went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position Wednesday night and finished the series against Salem 3-for-29 with runners in scoring position. On the season, the Blue Crew are hitting just .143 (10-for-70) in that situation.
The Blue Rocks did run the bases well during the road trip, and stole a remarkable 17 bags and were only caught once in their first seven games. Wilmington leads the Carolina League in that department with Buies Creek being the next closest team with 10. Rudy Martin led the way with seven stolen bases. Nick Heath swiped three bases and Khalil Lee , Gabriel Cancel and D.J. Burt each have two stolen bases in the young season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.