Wilmington, DE- The Wilmington Blue Rocks (67-69/28-36) did not have an answer for the Lynchburg HIllcats' (84-52/44-23) offense Friday night as the Rocks suffered a lopsided 13-4 loss at Frawley Stadium. The 13 runs surrendered and 10 walks issued by Wilmington's staff are the most allowed in a single game this season for the Blue Crew. The loss also marks the eighth straight defeat at the friendly confines of Frawley Stadium for Wilmington. Travis Maezes, Chris DeVito and Roman Collins each drove in a run in the loss.
Wilmington got off to a strong start with a little help from the Hillcats in the opening inning. After Nick Heath started the frame with a single, Jecksson Flores walked and Roman Collins singled to load the bases. DeVito then reached on a fielder's choice an error by Lynchburg's shortstop Sam Haggerty allowed two runners to score to give the Blue Rocks a 2-0 lead. However, the Hillcats answered right back with a pair of runs of their own in the top of the third when Martin Cervenka and Connor Marabell each delivered with RBI hits to knot the game, 2-2.
The Rocks loaded the bases for the second time in as many innings before Collins drew a two-out RBI walk to push the Rocks out front 3-2. That would be the last lead the Rocks would hold as Lynchburg responded with 11 unanswered runs. In the third inning, the Hillcats sent 10 men to the plate and scored four runs, aided by four walks and a two-run single by Connor Marabell.
Lynchburg continued to add to its lead scoring two more runs in the fourth before adding four more in the sixth inning including RBI hits from Gavin Collins, Mitch Longo and Marabell, who drove in his fourth RBI of the night, to extend the Hillcats lead 12-3. Lynchburg tacked on another run in the eighth inning on Wilmington's seventh wild pitch of the ballgame, to make it a 13-3 contest. Maezes ripped an RBI triple in the eighth inning to score Brandon Downes, who walked, to make it a 13-4 final.
The Blue Rocks will continue their four-game series with the Hillcats on Saturday, September 2 with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. RHP Jace Vines (3-2, 3.82 ERA) takes the mound for Wilmington while RHP Dominic DeMasi (6-1, 2.68 ERA) makes the start for the Hillcats. Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus and Cory Nidoh have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
For the majority of 2017, the Blue Rocks have been one of the better teams in the Carolina while playing at home in the friendly confines of Frawley Stadium. However, Wilmington's loss on Friday night extended a season-high home losing streak to eight games. Over that stretch, the Rocks have been outscored 44-11 by the visiting team and have lost five games by two runs or less. Before the eighth-game skid at home, the Rocks won 11 of the previous 16 home contests at Frawley Stadium.
The Rocks pitching staff unfortunately could not find the strike zone on Friday night. Four different pitchers were used and allowed a season-high 10 walks against Lynchburg. Scott Blewett and walked a career-high six batters over two-plus innings, including four straight in the second inning. Wilmington also surrendered a season-high 13 runs to the Hillcats in Friday's game. It's the most runs the staff has given up since August 8, when Down East scored 11 runs.
Despite the offensive struggles, Jecksson Flores has stayed hot in the final games of the regular season. The shortstop picked up a hit, a walk, and scored a run on Friday evening, and tallied two more hits on Thursday night. The two hits marked his 21st multi-hit game on the season. For Flores, nine of those have come in the month of August. During the last full month of play, the 23-year-old has slugged 10 of his 14 doubles and two of his three triples, all while providing stellar defensive.
In limited action this year, Travis Maezes has impressed with his power. The Ann Arbor-native stroked his first career triple on Friday night against Lynchburg, his second extra base hit of the home stand. On the season, Maezes has powered nine doubles along with six home runs despite being sidelined with an injury for nearly a month. Of his 45 hits on the year, 16 of them have been for extra bases.
They Said It: Travis Maezes, Infielder
"It was a tough game for us (on Friday). Just knowing when you are coming up in the order and doing your best to lock into that at bat (on staying focused). It's just a night we want to forget and move onto (Saturday's game). We will come back (Saturday) ready to go.
Personally, I want to compete the last three games. It still doesn't matter (where we are in the standings) but you have to compete every day and want to win. (The fans) have been great to us all year.
They come out, show us their support. We didn't give them a great performance (Friday) but throughout the entire season, it has been awesome. They have given us a good atmosphere and good home field advantage this year."
25 Years of Blue Rocks Baseball
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.