Wilmington, DE - The Wilmington Blue Rocks (4-6) used a five run outburst in the seventh inning to earn a come-from-behind victory and stun the Lynchburg Hillcats (4-6) by a 5-2 score Saturday night at Frawley Stadium. The Blue Crew sent nine men to the plate in the seventh inning, scored five runs on five hits, highlighted by a game-tying two-run homer from Meibrys Viloria and a two-run double from Khalil Lee to help seal the victory for the Rocks.
With just two hits through the first six innings, the Rocks were able to get to Lynchburg reliever Luis Jimenez. Xavier Fernandez hit a one-out double before Viloria crushed his first homer of the season over the right field wall to tie the game at 2-2. Nick Heath followed with a single, stole second base and scored on an RBI single from D.J. Burt to give the Rocks their first lead of the game, 3-2. After Burt stole second and third base, Rudy Martin was hit by a pitch and stole second before Lee sliced a double down the left field line to plate the pair of runners to give the Rocks a 5-2 cushion they would not relinquish.
The Hillcats led the game starting in the second inning on an RBI sacrifice fly from Logan Ice to make it 1-0 before Conner Capel hit a solo home run in the fourth to make it a 2-0 deficit before the Wilmington comeback in the seventh inning.
The combination of Jared Ruxer , Grant Gavin and Bryan Brickhouse tossed the final 5.2 innings in scoreless fashion and allowed just one hit while striking out 10. Gavin earned his first win of the season while Brickhouse picked up his second save of the year after having the tying-run at the plate.
Wilmington will go for the series win on Sunday, April 15 when they wrap up the series with Lynchburg. Lefty Cristian Castillo (0-1, 4.35 ERA) makes the start for Wilmington while right-handed hurler Jake Paulson (0-1, 8.10 ERA) starts for Lynchburg. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. and fans can listen to the game as Matt Janus and Cory Nidoh will have the call on 89.7 WGLS-FM.
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Khalil Lee continued his torrid pace to begin his first season in the Carolina League. In Saturday night's' win, he walked and ripped a two-run double to provide key insurance runs. On Friday, he had a three-hit game and swatted his second homer of the season. The 19-year-old prospect is hitting .387 through his nine games as a Blue Rock. In total, he has 12 hits including three doubles, a triple and pair of home runs. He also leads the team in home runs and RBI with six.
With Meibrys Viloria's game-tying, two-run home run in the seventh, it marks the sixth straight game the Blue Rocks have hit a home run. The streak started on April 9 at Salem when Angelo Castellano hit his first home run as a Blue Rock. Since, Xavier Fernandez, Chase Vallot , Rudy Martin, and Lee have left the yard during the stretch. Wilmington is 3-3 during the six-game span.
The relief pitching Saturday was sensational for the Blue Rocks as Jared Ruxer, Grant Gavin and Bryan Brickhouse combined to strikeout 10 batters, allowed just two walks and one hit. Starter Arnaldo Hernandez added two strikeouts in his three-plus innings of work to give the Rocks a single-season game-high 12 strikeouts. It was the first time this season the Rocks compiled 10 or more strikeouts in a game. The previous single-game high this season was nine which they did it twice at Potomac on April 7 and April 8.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.