Wilmington, DE - Marcelo Martinez held Potomac to only a single score over six innings and the Wilmington Blue Rocks offense did just enough in a 2-1 win over the Nationals on Saturday at Frawley Stadium. The victory ended the Blue Crew's three-game losing streak and increased their lead in the Carolina League North to 2.5 games as they reached the halfway point of the opening half.
Wilmington erased an early 1-0 deficit thanks to some aggressive baserunning. Cristian Perez opened the third inning with a single was then sacrificed into scoring position, stole third and came home on the play courtesy of a throwing error. The Rocks went ahead for good in the fifth. Again it was Perez who got things going with a one-out single. Ricky Aracena brought him home with his subsequent double to left.
Meanwhile on the mound Martinez was magnificent. He allowed a solo homer to Nick Banks in the top of the third and that was it. He yielded just six total hits and did not issue a single free pass. The lefty threw 55 of his 87 pitches for strikes and earned a win in the same week he picked up his first career Advanced-A save.
Speaking of the bullpen, Collin Snider tossed two scoreless innings worked around two hits to post two scoreless innings and then Tad Ratliff stranded the tying run on base in the ninth to earn his ninth save of the season.
The Rocks wrap up the first half of their homestand with a rubber match against Potomac on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Lefty Daniel Tillo gets the ball for Wilmington. Tickets are available at BlueRocks.com and fans that don't make it to the ballpark can catch all the action with the Voice of the Blue Rocks Cory Nidoh on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
The Blue Crew have excelled in close games this season. Wilmington leads the Carolina League with 15 contests decided by a single score in 2019. The Rocks are an impressive 13-3 in those close calls. They are also stellar at holding late leads, going 13-1 when taking an advantage into the eighth inning and 14-0 when leading after eight.
Despite spending two-thirds of the season atop the Carolina League North standings, the Wilmington offense continues to be a work in progress this season. The Rocks managed just five hits on Saturday, which was the fourth straight time Wilmington has managed five knocks or fewer in a contest and 16th time in 2019. The Rocks also went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and have just 11 total knocks with men at second and/or third base in their last 12 games. Overall the Blue Crew attack is last in the Carolina League with a collective .195 batting average. Wilmington is also last in the loop in on-base percentage, runs, hits and extra-base knocks.
Wilmington has had an odd schedule to start the 2019 season. Wilmington opened the campaign with a series against Salem and then played 17 consecutive games against CL South opponents. The Rocks went 9-8 during that stretch. The Blue Crew are now in the midst of playing 24 out of 27 against the CL North. The Rocks are 11-5 so far during this divisional-heavy portion of the slate and 9-7 on the year against CL North foes.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.