Zebulon, N.C. - The Wilmington Blue Rocks (14-19) attempted a rally in the eighth inning and brought the tying-run to the plate in the final frame, but were unable to catch the Carolina Mudcats (16-18) in a 5-3 loss Thursday night at Five County Stadium. The game was delayed one-hour and 18-minutes due to rain in the top of the eighth inning before play resumed. Emmanuel Rivera led the Blue Rocks offensively with a pair of hits and two RBI. It was the third straight setback for Wilmington.
Carolina struck the scoreboard in its first look at Blue Rocks' starter Ofreidy Gomez and plated a run on a Cooper Hummel RBI single to make it a 1-0 deficit for Wilmington. The Blue Crew quickly responded thanks to Xavier Fernandez's solo home run to tie the game at 1-1. The Mudcats regained the lead on a sacrifice fly from Weston Wilson in the third inning before Carolina added two more in the fifth on a Dallas Carroll sacrifice fly and a Wilson RBI double to make it 4-1.
Play would be delayed as the Rocks mounted a rally in the top half of the eighth inning. D.J. Burt led the inning with a walk and Gabriel Cancel reached on an error to put runners at first and second before the skies opened up. After a delay of one-hour and 18-minutes, the Rocks momentum picked back up thanks to a two-run double from Rivera to score both Burt and Cancel to make it a 4-3 contest. The Mudcats tacked on their final run on a wild pitch from Justin Camp to make it 5-3. In the ninth, the Rocks brought the tying-run to the plate, but Burt grounded into a fielder's choice to end the game.
The Blue Rocks and Mudcats play the second game of the four-game series on Friday, May 11 at Five County Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. with righty Gerson Garabito (1-2, 2.12 ERA) making the start for the Rocks while left-hander Nathan Kirby (0-2, 7.11 ERA) makes the start for the Mudcats. Fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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The Blue Rocks posted eight more hits in the losing effort Thursday night which marked the sixth time in the club's last seven games that the Rocks have had at least eight hits in a game. Over their last 11 games, Wilmington has pounded out 93 hits. Seven different Blue Rocks picked up a hit in the series opening game while Emmanuel Rivera led the team with two. The third baseman leads the team with 10 multi-hit games this season.
The rain delay in Thursday's game was the first time this season the Rocks were delayed through the first 32 games of the season. Last season, the Rocks had two games delayed by rain through the first 34 contests of the campaign. The hour-plus delay Thursday night was the first time the Rocks were in a rain delay for over 60 minutes since July 17 of last season when Wilmington and Potomac had to stop playing for one-hour and seven-minutes.
Thursday's setback marked the third straight loss for the Blue Rocks after falling in the final two games of their homestand to Potomac. It is the first time Wilmington has lost more than two games in a row this season since April 22-25 when they lost the series finale at Frederick and fell short in the first two games of a home series against Potomac. The Blue Rocks have lost three in a row for just the third time this season and will look to avoid matching their season-long four-game skid which they suffered from April 8-11 against Potomac and Salem.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.