Zebulon, N.C. - Clutch hitting and patience helped the Wilmington Blue Rocks (15-19) rally past the Carolina Mudcats (16-19) in the eighth inning to earn a 6-4 victory at Five County Stadium Friday night. Down by a run in the eighth, Kort Peterson tied the game with an RBI single before Chris DeVito put the Blue Rocks back out in front with a bases loaded walk. Bryan Brickhouse earned his sixth save of the season and tossed the final two innings of the game. The win snapped a three-game skid for the Blue Rocks.
The Mudcats staked their first lead of the game in the seventh inning when Max McDowell sliced a triple to left field and scored two runs to make it a 4-3 game. However, the rallying Rocks responded in the top of the eighth inning. Peterson delivered with a clutch hit to score Angelo Castellano, who led the offense with three hits, to knot the game, 4-4. DeVito put the Rocks back out in front with a two-out, bases loaded walk to score Rivera to make it 5-4. In the ninth, Khalil Lee added a key insurance run with an RBI double to score Castellano to push the Wilmington lead to 6-4 before Brickhouse earned his sixth save in as many opportunities to preserve the win.
The Blue Rocks struck in their first look at Carolina's starter Nathan Kirby. Wilmington strung together three straight singles to start the game, including an run-scoring base hit from Lee to put the Blue Crew ahead, 1-0. Emmanuel Rivera followed suit with a base hit to plate Castellano to make it an early 2-0 advantage for Wilmington.
D.J. Burt extended the Rocks' lead in the second inning with an RBI single to right field to score Chase Vallot who led the inning off with a walk. Carolina inched closer in the bottom of the third when Dallas Carroll doubled home a run before Weston Wilson singled home another run to make it a 3-2 contest.
Wilmington and Carolina play the third game of the series on Saturday, May 12 at Five County Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. with RHP Arnaldo Hernandez (4-0, 2.61 ERA) starting for the Blue Rocks while lefty Cameron Roegner (3-1, 1.08 ERA) starts for the Mudcats. Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera has been the most consistent bat in the Wilmington lineup. He picked up another hit and drove in his 25th RBI of the season, adding to his team-lead in that department. Rivera is off to a strong start to the second month of the campaign and is hitting .325 (13-for-40) in 10 games in May. Rivera also leads the team with nine doubles and 36 hits.
Kort Peterson has been on a torrid pace at the plate over the last eight games. On Friday, he delivered the game-tying RBI single in the top of the eighth inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-high five games. Over his last eight games, the outfielder is hitting .536 (15-for-28). He is second on the team in hits (32) and home runs (4).
The win for the Blue Rocksk marked the first time Wilmington earned a victory when trailing after seven innings. Entering the game, Wilmington was 0-17 in that situation. Conversely, the Blue Rocks improved to 15-0 when leading after eight innings of play as they were able to hold on to even up the series after two games of the four game set. It was also the first road win for the Blue Rocks against a Southern Division foe this season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.