Kinston, NC - Three runs in the 10th inning proved the difference as the Wilmington Blue Rocks (61-55, 22-24) took the series finale against the Down East Wood Ducks (47-69, 23-24) 5-2 in extra innings on Friday night at Grainger Stadium. Despite committing a season-high five errors and being held hitless through five innings, the Rocks mustered a win with three hits and great pitching. Nick Heath and Jecksson Flores plated two of the three runs in the 10th on a hit and a sacrifice fly. Wilmington will face Down East one more time this season when the Wood Ducks come to Frawley for a three-game series in late August.
The Rocks offense awoke in the tenth frame of a 2-2 ballgame. With the bases loaded, a passed ball plated the go-ahead run, but Heath added an insurance run on a run-scoring single and Flores smacked a sacrifice fly to center field to give the Rocks a 5-2 victory.
The Wood Ducks opened the scoring in the second inning on Chuck Moorman's two-out RBI double. Josh Altmann singled the next at bat, and Moorman scored after Wilmington catcher Colton Frabasilio missed the catch which made it 2-0 Down East. Rocks offense was held hitless through the first five innings, but broke through in the sixth. Frabasilio lead off with a single and Health followed with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt moved both runners over, Roman Collins hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Rocks first run in, and an errand pick-off throw plated the tying run to make it 2-2.
Wilmington starter Scott Blewett motored his way past several defensive errors and base path traffic to pitch seven strong innings. The right hander surrendered just six hits and two runs, one earned, while striking out four batters. Grant Gavin (2-0) earned the win after two shutout innings. Justin Camp (S, 1) recorded his first save of the season pitching a flawless tenth inning.
The Rocks head to Salem, Virginia to take on the Salem Red Sox for a three game series starting on Friday, August 11 with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m. RHP Jace Vines (1-1, 4.30 ERA) will take the hill for the Rocks while RHP Mike Shawaryn (4-3, 4.27 ERA) starts for Salem. Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus and Cory Nidoh have the call on 89.7 WGLS FM.
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Wilmington was able to salvage the series finale against Down East on Friday night by scoring five unanswered runs. It marks the final time Wilmington will play at Grainger Field this season. Overall, the Rocks are 7-3 against the Wood Ducks, of which all games have been played in Kinston, NC. Out of those 10 games, the Rocks have recorded double-digit hits in seven of those contests. The win also marks the second road win for the Rocks in the last 11 away games.
Scott Blewett was exceptional on Friday night. The right hander gave up just two runs, one earned on six hits while striking out four batters over seven innings. It is the longest outing for Blewett since July 18, when he tossed seven frames against Potomac but was dealt the loss. The New York native has gone at least seven innings in five starts this season, the most on Wilmington's staff. Despite his great performances, Blewett has not earned a win since his complete-game shutout against Salem on July 2. Over that span, he has an 0-3 record in seven starts with a 4.02 ERA and is giving up an average of 6.7 hits per game.
Wilmington's defense struggled on Friday, committing five errors against the Wood Ducks. It is the most amount of errors in a game for the Rocks this season. Of the five, three were fielding errors, one was a missed throw to first base, and the other was a missed catch that cost the Rocks a run. The Blue Crew's defense struggled mightily at Grainger Field and committed a total of nine errors over the three game series. Wilmington is just 28-41 when their defense commits an error.
The Rocks head to Salem to take on the Red Sox for a three game weekend set. The last time the two teams met, Wilmington swept Salem at Frawley Stadium during a four-game series. In July, the Rocks went 6-3 against the Red Sox, and also own the overall season series record 11-10. However, the series has been dominated by the home team. The Rocks are 10-4 against Salem at home, but just 1-6 on the road. The remaining six games will all be played at Honda Toyota Field.
They Said It: Jamie Quirk
"Well I thought our pitching was excellent (on Friday night). Offensively we didn't do a whole lot, they helped us out. We got three walks in the last inning, put a couple balls in play. Travis Maezes made a nice read at third base on a high chopper. We got a run with a wild pitch as well. All in all, it was an ugly win, but it was a win and I thought our pitching was very good."
"Scott Blewett responded great because the defense killed him. They kept putting him in very bad situations and he shouldn't have had to work that hard, he shouldn't have given up a run. He got it up and made some pitches especially in his last inning. He had runners on second and third and got out of it, made some nice pitches. I thought it was his best game of the year truthfully."
"Grant Gavin got in trouble because of our defense. We missed a pop-up and it should have been a clean inning. He had to work his butt off the get through it. Justin Camp was great, three up and three down, he was very good. The pitching did their job and they got put in tough situations."
"Concentration (led to the five errors). None of them were tough plays. It was just concentration, catching the ball and throwing the ball, catching up pop-ups, a play at the plate. They are all just normal plays. It's a lack of concentration and everyone needs to focus on what they are doing. Five errors is inexcusable but we will take the win."
"A win is a win and it's huge this time of year. I don't care how we got it, can't be proud of it but we got it. Now we move on and go play Salem and see what happens."
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.