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Blue Rocks roll into playoffs

Blank Avalanche, capture Carolina League division title
September 1, 2007
Julio Pimentel and two relievers combined on a four-hitter Friday as the Wilmington Blue Rocks clinched the Carolina League second-half Northern Division title with a 4-0 blanking of the Salem Avalanche.

The win secured the 12th playoff appearance in Wilmington's 15-year history. It's the 18th time the Blue Rocks (43-23) have won a division title and the fourth time they've accomplished the feat under manager John Mizerock.

Pimentel (12-4) struck out two, walked a pair and scattered four hits over seven innings for his sixth straight win. Unbeaten since July 16, the 21-year-old right-hander has allowed two earned runs over his last 13 1/3 innings. Rayner Oliveros worked a perfect eighth before Arthur Santos struck out one in a scoreless ninth to close it out.

Pimentel joined Carolina League Pitcher of the Year Rowdy Hardy as the only Blue Rocks to win six consecutive decisions. He ranks second in the league with a 2.65 ERA.

Jose Duarte doubled and scored on right fielder Orlando Rosales' throwing error leading off the sixth. Duarte collided with catcher Jose Lopez, but both remained in the game. Brett Bigler put the game out of reach with a two-run double in the eighth, then scored on Josh Johnson's single.

Avalanche starter Polin Trinidad (2-1) took the tough-luck loss after allowing an unearned run on seven hits with five strikeouts in six frames.

Salem (36-31) already has clinched a playoff spot, but trails first-place Kinston by three games in the Southern Division.

The Blue Rocks will host first-half champion Frederick in Game 1 of the best-of-3 division series on Wednesday.

Danny Wild is a contributor to