Zebulon, NC -- Seuly Matias became the first Blue Rock to hit two home runs in a single game this season as Wilmington beat the Carolina Mudcats 5-1 on Sunday at Five County Stadium. The victory was Wilmington's third in a row and its eighth in the last nine games.
Matias opened the fourth inning with a solo shot to left-center. He then sent a lined two-run blast over the right-field fence with one out in the sixth. It was actually Blake Perkins who set the tone early for Wilmington, hitting the fourth pitch of the afternoon out for a solo shot.
Sebastian Rivero added to the advantage in the top of the sixth. The designated hitter singled and eventually came around to score courtesy of a wild pitch.
That was more than enough offense for the Blue Rocks. In a bullpen by committee game the combination of Rito Lugo, Collin Snider and Holden Capps held Carolina to just a single score. Lugo tossed 3.1 scoreless frames while Snider got the win by yielding just one run over 3.2 innings. Capps stranded a pair in the eighth and then retired the side in order in the ninth to cap things off.
Carolina starter Christian Taugner (1-1) surrendered all three of the home runs. The righty allowed four scores on five hits in 5.1 frames.
Wilmington continues its first road trip of the season on Monday at Winston-Salem. Left-hander Daniel Lynch (0-1, 7.11) takes the mound for the Rocks. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. and fans can catch all the action with the Voice of the Blue Rocks Cory Nidoh on 89.7 WGLS-FM or BlueRocks.com.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
Sunday marked the second time the Blue Crew bullpen has made a spot start in 2019. Rito Lugo got the ball and kept Carolina off the board during his 3.1 frames on the mound. J.C. Cloney started game two of a doubleheader on April 6 and yielded just one run in five frames to earn a victory. Those two outings are emblematic of how well the Wilmington relief corps has pitched, despite neither counting toward their stats. The Blue Rocks bullpen has allowed just three earned runs over its last 33 innings of work. During that span they have earned five wins and converted all five save opportunities.
After managing just two hits and two walks in the season-opening homestand Blake Perkins found his stride at the plate in Carolina. The second-year Blue Rock had three hits including his first home run of the year during the four-game series. He also drove in two runs, scored three more and drew five free passes. Perkins entered the season as the 23rd-ranked prospect in the Kansas City system by MLB.com. He was traded from the Nationals last June as part of a package for former Blue Rock Kelvin Herrera.
Prior to the eighth inning on Thursday Wilmington had hit just one home run total in the first 67 frames of the season. The Rocks hit two long balls that inning courtesy of Sebastian Rivero and Ricky Aracena, and have launched six total over the last 25 frames. Seuly Matiasbecame the first Blue Crew batter to hit multiple bombs in 2019 when he sent one out to dead-center in the third inning on Sunday. He then upped the ante with a two-run shot in the sixth, becoming the first Rock to hit two in the same game since Chase Vallot did it on May 2, 2018. Wilmington went from last in the 10-team Carolina League to tied for fourth in the loop in homers. Five of the Blue Crew's seven dingers this season have been solo shots.
Wilmington may call the Carolina League's Northern Division home, but in the early part of the season the Blue Crew will be much more familiar with the CL South. The Rocks are in the midst of 17 consecutive games against southern division foes. Wilmington swept a three-game series at home against the Dash and just wrapped up a four-game set at Carolina. The Rocks travel to Winston-Salem for three starting on Monday then play a four-game series at home against the Down East Wood Ducks before welcoming the Dash back to Frawley Stadium for three more. The Rocks are currently 6-1 during this long stretch of southern hospitality.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.