Woodbridge, VA- The Wilmington Blue Rocks (12-13) brought their lumber for the middle game of the series as Wilmington cruised past the Potomac Nationals (15-11) 12-7 Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. All nine starters recorded a hit as the offensive unit set a season-high with 16 hits. Chase Vallot hit a pair of home runs and third baseman Emmanuel Rivera paced the offense with four hits as the two combined to drive in eight runs in the victory.
The Rocks erased a 2-0 hole in the third inning when they sent 10 men to the plate. Vallot led the inning off with a solo home run to cut the deficit in half, 2-1. It was the second time in as many games the designated hitter launched a home run. Gabriel Cancel tied the game on an RBI sacrifice fly to score Angelo Castellano. Rivera followed and roped a two-run double to left field to give the Rocks their first lead, 4-2. Xavier Fernandez followed with an RBI double of his own to plate Rivera to make it a 5-2 ballgame.
Potomac creeped closer and made it 6-5 after scoring single tallies in three straight innings from the fourth to the sixth innings while Rivera drove in his third run of the game in the fourth inning for the Rocks. In the seventh inning, the Blue Crew exploded for another five-spot. Rivera started the scoring brigade with an RBI single to score Khalil Lee to pad the advantage, 7-5. Chris DeVito smacked an RBI single to make it 8-5 before Vallot walloped a three-run blast over the left field wall to break the game open, 11-5.
In the eighth inning, Lee added an RBI single to score Cancel to put the Rocks up 12-5. The P-Nats added two a pair of runs in the eighth inning on a Telmito Agustin RBI triple and a fielder's choice to give the game its final score of 12-7. Potomac loaded the bases in the ninth inning, but Matthew Wynne extinguished the rally and earned his second save of the season.
The Blue Rocks and P-Nats wrap up the three-game series with the series finale on Thursday, May 3 at Pfitzner Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. with lefty Cristian Castillo (1-2, 7.23 ERA) making the start for the Blue Rocks while right-hander Sterling Sharp (2-2, 4.62 ERA) starts for Potomac. Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
PEBBLES OF KNOWLEDGE:
With Chase Vallot's pair of home runs in Wednesday's win, the Rocks have clubbed a home run in 15 of the first 25 games this season. It was Vallot's fourth and fifth home runs of the season, giving him the team lead. He became the first Blue Rock this season to homer in back-to-back games and second to have a multi-home run game this season. Outfielder Kort Peterson also cranked two homers in the same game back on April 21 at Frederick. All five home runs hit by the 21-year-old have been hit on the road. He has two solo home runs, a two-run blast, a three-run shot and a grand slam to his ledger this season.
Third baseman Emmanuel Rivera put together an impressive performance at the plate. He set season-highs with four hits and four RBI. It marked the fifth time in his career he has recorded four hits in a game and the fourth occasion he has driven in four runs. Over his last 16 games, he has driven in 14 of his team leading 18 RBI.
The 16 hits set a single-game high this season and was just the second time the Rocks tallied double-digit hits in a game. Wilmington racked up 14 hits on Arpil 19 at Frederick. All nine starters recorded a hit while Rivera, Vallot and Brandon Downes posted multi-hit games in the lopsided win. Last season, the Rocks had 45 games in which they had 10 hits or more.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.