Salem, VA- The Wilmington Blue Rocks (59-56/28-17) battled back-and-forth with the Salem Red Sox (53-60/21-24) but ultimately came out on top with the narrow 6-5 victory on Thursday night at Haley Toyota Field. Angelo Castellano and Meibrys Viloria led the offense by driving in four of Wilmington's six runs.
The Blue Rocks tied the game once again in the top of the sixth. Rudy Martin lead the inning off with a triple down the line in left. Castellano looped a single into center to bring Martin around to score and make it a 5-5 ballgame. Wilmington took the lead back in the top of the seventh. After a lead-off double by Emmanuel Rivera , Viloria singled to left to put runners on the corners with no outs. Travis Jones roped an RBI single to left to score Rivera and put the Rocks on top 6-5.
Tyler Zuber came in for the save in the bottom of the ninth. After a one-out single by Jake Romanski, C.J. Chatham struck out swinging to get Wilmington within one out of sealing the victory. Jerry Downs singled to keep the game alive and put runners on the corners with two outs. Downs advanced to second on the defensive indifference call. Zuber battled with Josh Tobias for seven pitches before striking him out on the eighth pitch of the at-bat to earn the save and end the game.
With the game tied at 1-1, the Blue Rocks regained the lead in the top of the second. With Martin on second, Vance Vizcaino hit a ground out to move Martin to third with two outs. Castellano smacked a double into left that scored Martin and made it a 2-1 ballgame. The Red Sox knotted the game up in the bottom of the second. After back-to-back walks, Nick Lovullo singled through the gap in left to load the bases with no outs. Tyler Hill grounded into a double play while Victor Acosta scored to tie the game at 2-2. Salem took it's first lead of the game in the bottom of the third. Chatham and Downs each drew a walk and advanced to second and third after a Tobias groundout. Michael Osinski knocked a deep single to left to bring Chatham and Downs home to score and put the Red Sox on top 4-2.
Wilmington responded in the top of the fifth. After a Blake Perkins walk, D.J. Burt singled up the middle and advanced to second to put both runners in scoring position. Gabriel Cancel hit into a fielder's choice, Perkins was tagged out at the plate on the play to put runners on the corners with one out. After Cancel stole second, Viloria doubled to left to score Burt and Cancel and knot the game up at 4-4.
The Red Sox retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Downs lead the inning off with a single and then moved to second after Tobias drew a walk. Osinski hammered a ground ball to second on what would have been a double play, but Angelo Castellano over threw the ball for an error that allowed Downs to score and put Salem ahead, 5-4.
The Blue Rocks will travel down to Myrtle Beach where they will start a three-game series with the Pelicans on Friday, August 10 with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at TicketReturn.Com Field. Wilmington will send right-hander Nolan Watson (6-1, 3.19 ERA) to the mound. Fans can catch all the action with Cory Nidoh on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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Tyler Zuber earned his eighth save as a Blue Rock this season on Thursday night. The right-hander is now 8 for 10 in save opportunities with Wilmington this season. Zuber is now tied with fellow bullpen arm Julio Pinto for second place in total saves. Bryan Brickhouse holds the team lead with 12 saves on the year.
Angelo Castellano and Emmanuel Rivera combined to score four of Wilmington's six runs on Thursday night. Both Castellano and Rivera hit for two RBI in the winning effort. For Castellano, this is the fifth multi-RBI game for him this season and the third where he hit home two runs. This is Rivera's 13th multi-RBI game and his seventh with two RBI.
With the win on Thursday, the Blue Rocks continue to succeed with a red-hot offense. Wilmington improves to 23-5 in games where the team has 10 or more hits and 44-11 when scoring four or more runs. The Rocks also remained relentless with late leads, going 45-3 when leading after seven innings and going 43-1 when leading after eight. The Blue Rocks are now 36-23 when scoring first as opposed to 24-32 when their opponents plate the first run.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.