Fayetteville, NC - A rough night at the plate has left the Wilmington Blue Rocks on the brink of elimination, as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Fayetteville Woodpeckers on Thursday at Segra Stadium. The Game Three loss left Wilmington in a 2-1 hole in the best of five Mills Cup Championship Series.
The Blue Crew actually staked to an early lead with a run in the second. Kyle Kasser got the frame started with a single and two outs later MJ Melendez brought him home with a bloop-single to center.
Unfortunately for the Rocks that was the extent of their offensive production for the night. The Wilmington attack managed just four total hits and from the third inning until there were two outs in the ninth, endured a string of 20 outs in 21 batters sent to the plate.
For five frames it appeared as though the offensive futility might not matter, as Kris Bubic held the Woodpeckers to three hits and nary a run. But Fayetteville finally broke through on the lefty in the bottom of the sixth.
Cal Stevenson grounded a one-out single up the middle. Stevenson was retired on Marty Costes' fielder's choice grounder to third, but Chandler Taylor followed with a single and then David Hensley put the Woodpeckers ahead to stay with a two-out double to left.
The hit allowed Fayetteville starter Nivaldo Rodriguez to depart in line for the win.
The righty yielded just one run on three hits while fanning seven and walking only one. He gave way to Cesar Rosado, who tossed two perfect frames of bridge work. Then Humberto Castellanos retired the first two batters in the ninth before yielding a single to Kasser. The Rocks could not get the tying-run home, however, as Castellanos got Dennicher Carrasco to fly out to center to nail down the save.
This Mills Cup Championship Series continues in Fayetteville on Friday as Wilmington looks to stay alive in a pivotal Game Four. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. as southpaw Austin Cox gets the start for the Rocks, while the Woodpeckers counter with righty Jojanse Torres. 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.