Frederick, MD - The Wilmington Blue Rocks (6-8) cruised past the Frederick Keys (6-9) in the series opener with a convincing 15-4 win Thursday night at Nymeo Field. The Blue Crew scored a season-high 15 runs through the first four innings of the game. Chase Vallot hit a grand slam, Rudy Martin fell a home run shy of hitting for the cycle and both combined to drive in 10 of the 15 runs scored by the Rocks in the victory.
The offensive avalanche began in Wilmington's first at-bats. Chris DeVito drew a bases loaded walk to give Wilmington an early 1-0 lead before Vallot smacked a grand slam over the left field wall to make it an early 5-0 cushion for the Blue Crew. It was the first homer for Vallot and first grand slam hit by a Blue Rock this season. They Keys scored a run in their first look at Wilmington starter Gerson Garabito , who earned his first win as a Blue Rock, to make it 5-1 before the Rocks added a run on an RBI walk from Emmanuel Rivera in the second inning to make it a 6-1 game.
Frederick's Randolph Gassaway drove in a run in the second inning on an RBI single before he Blue Crew added a pair of runs in the third inning. Martin laced a two-run triple to right field to score both Meibrys Viloria and Kort Peterson to extend the Wilmington lead, 8-2. In the fourth inning, Wilmington sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven runs. Vallot started the scoring brigade with a bases loaded walk to make it 9-2 and Rivera scored on a Frederick error to put the Rocks in double digits, 10-2.
Peterson followed with a one-out RBI single, Martin cracked a three-run double and Rivera plated Martin on a sacrifice fly to give Wilmington a commanding 15-2 lead. Frederick tacked on two runs on a Jomar Reyes sacrifice fly in the seventh and an RBI single from Preston Palmeiro in the eighth to make it the final score of 15-4.
The Blue Rocks and Keys return to action on Friday at Nymeo Field for the second game of the four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and righty Arnaldo Hernandez (0-0, 3.00 ERA) makes the start for Wilmington while right-hander Lucas Humpal (0-2, 6.75 ERA) makes the start for Frederick. Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
Chase Vallot has hit three career grand slams as a Blue Rock. He hit the first grand slam by a Blue Rock this season and was the only player last year for Wilmington to hit leave the yard with the bases full. Vallot hit two in 2017 with his first coming on May 7 at Down East and his other on June 10 against Buies Creek at Frawley Stadium. Vallot finished the game on Thursday with five RBI, one shy of tying his career-high. It was the first time he drove in five runs since that June 10 game of last season against the Buies Creek Astros.
Rudy Martin had a huge game as well for the Rocks at the plate. The outfielder fell a home run shy of the cycle and tied a career-high with five runs batted in. The outfielder finished with three hits on the night which was his first multi-hit game of the season. Martin entered the game pacing the Carolina League in on-base percentage and his mark is now at .483.
The 15-runs scored by the Rocks' offense were the most scored by the team this season. The seven-run outburst in the fourth inning was also a single-game high this season. Previously, the most runs scored in a single frame by the Blue Crew this season was five when they did it on April 14 against the Lynchburg Hillcats. Overall, the Rocks had seven different players record a hit with Martin, Vallot, and Meibrys Viloria pacing the offense with three hits.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.