Woodbridge, VA - Just four outs away from a wire-to-wire victory, the Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-2) suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Potomac Nationals (2-2) by the score of 3-2 Sunday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium. The Blue Rocks committed a pair of errors with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to allow Potomac back in the game and ultimately fell in the bottom of the ninth inning on a Jack Sundberg game-winning single. Gerson Garabito shined in his Wilmington debut and tossed six shutout innings, allowed one hit and tied a career-high with nine strikeouts in a no-decision.
Leading 1-0 in the eighth inning with two outs, the Blue Rocks committed two errors, one of which allowed two runs to score to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Wilmington rallied in the top of the ninth. Kort Peterson drew a one-out walk, D.J. Burt reached on an infield bunt single and Rudy Martin worked a walk to load the bases. Shortstop Angelo Castellano skied a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Peterson and tie the game at 2-2. In the bottom of the ninth, Tres Barrera led the inning off with a double and Sundberg delivered with a game-winning single to centerfield to end the game.
The Blue Rocks took a first inning lead thanks to a pair of two-out extra-base hits. Khalil Lee tripled before Emmanuel Rivera laced a double to score Lee to make it a 1-0 game. That score would hold until the eighth inning. Garabito and P-Nats' righty Tyler Mapes exchanged scoreless innings from the second to the sixth inning. Garabito dazzled in his Wilmington debut while Mapes worked five innings and allowed the single tally, walked four and struck out two.
The Blue Rocks travel to Salem, Virginia to begin a three-game set with the Salem Red Sox starting Monday, April 9. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and RHP Arnaldo Hernandez (0-0, -.--) will make the start for Wilmington while Salem counters with RHP Bryan Mata (0-0, -.--). Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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Outfield prospect Khalil Lee turned in a solid performance at the plate in his first series at the Advanced-A level. The 19-year-old went 6-for-14 (.429) with a double, triple, home run, drew four walks, scored four runs and also stole a base. He reached base four times in Sunday's loss. First baseman Chris DeVito is also off to a fast start at the dish, hitting .357 (5-for-14) with one double, two RBI and three walks.
The one-run loss by the Blue Rocks Sunday marked the second straight one-run affair the Blue Crew played in after the first two games of the season were decided by two and seven runs, respectively. Wilmington won 5-4 Saturday night before dropping Sunday afternoon's game. Last year, Wilmington played in more one-run games than any other team in the Carolina League. They posted a 25-25 record in 50 one-run games.
Gerson Garabito dazzled in his Class-A Advanced debut. After suffering from a poor 2016 season statistically and a bounce back 2017 campaign that saw him miss almost two months due to injury, the righty tied a career-high with nine strikeouts in six, shutout innings of work. It was the first time he struck out nine batters since June 7, 2014 when he struck out nine when he was pitching in the Dominican Summer League.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.