Wilmington, DE- The Wilmington Blue Rocks (45-49 / 14-10) broke a seventh inning tie with a run in the eighth to pull away in the series opener against the Lynchburg Hillcats (44-49 / 15-11) by the score of 5-4 Wednesday night at Calvin Falwell Field. Blake Perkins paced the offense with four hits and scored twice while Blue Rocks' starter Daniel Tillo turned in a quality start and worked six innings, allowed two earned runs and struck out seven batters.
Tied in the top of the eighth inning, the Rocks scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. Emmanuel Rivera ripped a leadoff triple to left field to set the Blue Rocks up. With Meibrys Viloria at the plate, Rivera scored on a wild pitch from Lynchburg's reliever Micha Miniard to make it a 5-4 score. Corey Ray and Tyler Zuber retired the final six batters to help preserve the one-run victory.
Wilmington cracked the scoreboard in its first look at Hillcats' starter Tanner Tully. Perkins led the inning off with a double and D.J. Burt smashed his second homer of the year over the left field wall to push the Rocks out in front 2-0. In the third inning, the Blue Rocks manufactured a pair of runs. Perkins and Burt singled to put runners at first and second and then advanced a base on a wild pitch. Gabriel Cancel followed with an RBI groundout to second base to make it 3-0 before Rivera lofted an RBI sacrifice fly to left field to score Burt to pad Wilmington's lead, 4-0.
Lynchburg scored four runs between the sixth and seventh innings. Li-Jen Chu drew a bases loaded walk to get the Hillcats on the board before Anthony Miller scored on a wild pitch from Tillo to cut the Rocks' lead in half, 4-2. In the bottom of the seventh, Trenton Brooks tied the game with a two-run double to right field to tie the game at 4-4.
The Blue Rocks and Hillcats will play a doubleheader on Thursday, July 19. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. with right-hander Andres Sotillet (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will start game one for the Blue Rocks while righty Carter Hope (4-2, 3.61 ERA) will make a spot start for Wilmington in the second game of the twin bill. Fans can tune into the game with Matt Janus on the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
The starting pitching continues to be strong for the Wilmington Blue Rocks with Daniel Tillo turning in a quality start in Wednesday's win. Over the last three weeks, the starting pitching for the Blue Rocks has allowed 43 earned runs in 122.1 innings of work which is good for a 3.16 ERA. During their last 21 starts, the Blue Rocks' hurlers have turned in 10 quality starts and have allowed two earned runs or less in 15 of them. The Rocks are 12-9 in those games.
The Blue Rocks continued their dominance over the Hillcats this season and have won 12 of the first 17 games against Lynchburg this season. Wilmington has won five of their last seven games against the Hillcats. Overall on the season, the Rocks have outscored the Hillcats 84-66 while the pitching has yielded a respectable 3.04 ERA.
D.J. Burt hit his second home run of the season in Wednesday's win after not hitting any homers in 2017. The Blue Rock utility player has been scorching at the plate all season and pushed his hitting streak to a season-high nine games and has picked up a hit in 23 of his last 29 games. Burt posted his team-leading 25th multi-hit game of the season with two hits in the victory. Last season, Burt had 20 multi-hit games.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.