Wilmington, DE - For the third time in this 2019 postseason the Wilmington Blue Rocks erased a late deficit en route to victory, scoring three times in the seventh inning on Wednesday to beat the Fayetteville Woodpeckers 5-4 at Frawley Stadium. Wilmington's win evened the best-of-five series 1-1 as the Rocks look to capture the franchise's first Carolina League crown in two decades.
Down 4-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Blue Crew got their comeback potion activated when Kyle Isbel reached on an error by Fayetteville second baseman Ruben Castro. Woodpeckers reliever Riley Cabral then hit Brewer Hicklen with a 3-2 pitch. The duo was still stuck at first and second two outs later, but Dennicher Carrasco came through with a game-tying, two-run single. His flair shot landed in the perfect spot in shallow right, allowing a hustling Hicklen to circle all the way around from first. Nick Pratto followed with a walk, which set the stage for a go-ahead hit off the bat of catcher MJ Melendez . He poked a sinking-liner to right that plated Carrasco.
Andrew Beckwith tossed two scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win, while Tad Ratliff worked a flawless ninth to nail down the save.
Delaware native Tyler Hill almost singlehandedly kept Wilmington in the game early. The outfielder got the Rocks on the board with his game-tying solo homer to left in the bottom of the first. He then pulled the Blue Crew back to within a single score in the fifth with his RBI-single to left.
Wilmington starter Jonathan Bowlan battled his way through a tough night. The righty surrendered a run in three of the four innings he was on the mound. Chandler Taylor got Fayetteville on the board in the top of the first with a double to dead-center. Scott Manaea homered off Bowlan an inning later and Ruben Castro's RBI-fielder's choice ended Bowlan's outing.
The Woodpeckers extended their lead back to two runs in the sixth. A throwing error by shortstop Cristian Perez allowed Taylor to score against Rocks reliever Josh Dye , but it only served to make the Blue Crew's late-game heroics that much more exciting.
This Mills Cup Championship Series shifts to Fayetteville on Thursday as Wilmington looks to take the edge in Game Three. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. as southpaw Kris Bubic gets the start for the Rocks, while the Woodpeckers counter with righty Nivaldo Rodriguez. Fans can catch all of the action with the Voice of the Blue Rocks, Cory Nidoh on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.