Wilmington, DE - The Wilmington Blue Rocks (10-12) used strong pitching and run-scoring hits from three different hitters to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash (12-11) 3-1 Saturday night at Frawely Stadium. Emmanuel Rivera , Rudy Martin and Brandon Downes all drove in runs while the bullpen of Wilmington tossed the final three-plus innings of the game in scoreless fashion to earn the win.
Winston-Salem scored the game's first run in the opening inning when Luis Basabe hit a solo homer of Wilmington starter Jace Vines to make it an early 1-0 deficit for the Rocks. Wilmington tied the game in the bottom of the third inning when Rivera tripled home Khalil Lee to knot the game at 1-1. In the fifth inning, the Rocks took the lead thanks to RBI hits from Martin and Downes to pad the Blue Crew's lead, 3-1.
The Dash threatened in the top of the ninth inning against closer Bryan Brickhouse. With two outs, the Dash drew back-to-back, two-out walks to put the tying runs on base before Brickhouse got Ti'Quan Forbes to fly out to right field to end the threat and end the game. Brickhouse earned his fourth save in as many tries.
The Blue Rocks' pitching staff turned in a strong performance as a whole, starting with Vines. The right-hander worked 5.2 innings, allowed one earned run, four hits and struck out six to earn his first win of the season. Matthew Wynne , Nolan Becker and Brickhouse bridged the gap to hold off the potent Dash offense.
The rubber match between the Blue Rocks and Dash will be on Sunday, April 29 2018. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. with righty Ofreidy Gomez (0-2, 4.97 ERA) making the start for Wilmington while lefty Bernardo Flores (1-1, 4.30 ERA) makes the start for Winston-Salem. Fans can listen to the game as Cory Nidoh will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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Emmanuel Rivera continues to scorch the baseball this homestand. The third baseman picked up two more hits Saturday night, including an RBI triple, to make it three-straight contests with multiple hits. During this homestand, Rivera is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with a double, triple and two RBI. The 21-year-old paces the team with six multi-hit games.
Xavier Fernandez made his first start of the season at first base Saturday night. It marked just his second-career start at first base and first since August 2, 2015 when he was with the Burlington Royals (Rookie). This season, the Rocks have had three different players start at first base with Chris DeVito leading the way with 18 starts and Chase Vallot making three starts for the Rocks this season.
The win for the Blue Rocks also marked the first win of the season for Jace Vines. The sinker-baller dropped his first four starts of the season before turning in arguably his best start of the season Saturday night. He worked 5.1 strong innings and allowed just one earned runs, did not walk a batter and struck out a season-high six batters. It was the first win for Vines since August 16, 2017 when he notched a victory against the Frederick Keys.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.