This was not the prettiest of opening day wins for the Wilmington Blue Rocks but they will definitely take it. The Rocks opened the season on the road against the Potomac Nationals who they defeated 5-3.
The Rocks look like they are still getting the rust off from the winter because the Wilmington batters were struck out 18 times and the fielding made two errors.
The Rocks started out with early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, thanks to second baseman Gabriel Cancel‘s home run.
Then in the bottom of the first, the Rocks would lose their slim lead when pitcher Cristian Castillo allowed a couple of hits, including a home run to allow two runs score for the Nationals. Castillo also had a wild pitch in the inning that put Nationals Carter Kieboom in scoring position at third base. Nationals third baseman Jake Noll hit the solo home run off Castillo to give the Nats a 2-1 lead going into the second inning.
After the first inning, Rocks pitcher Castillo would settle down and throw three scoreless innings before exiting the game.
Castillo final stats were 4.2 innings pitched 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 ER, 2 BBs, 2 Ks & 1 HR.
The Rocks offense was cold till the fourth inning where the team mustered up to doubles in the inning to score a run to tie the game at two a piece.
Rocks second baseman Cancel came up big again the game when he led the inning off with a double. Then third baseman Emmanuel Rivera hit a line drive double to score Cancel.
The next run on the board for Wilmington was in the sixth inning when third baseman Rivera hit a double for the second time in the game and this time scoring left fielder Rudy Martin. This gave the Rocks a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th inning.
Then Jared Ruxer came in for relief for Castillo in the middle of the fifth inning and was awarded the win for the opening game.
Ruxer’s stats were 2.1 innings, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 ER, 2 Ks & 1 HR.
In the seventh the Rocks would not score a run but the Nationals did to tie the game 3-3.
Nationals left fielder Rhett Wiseman hit a solo home run off Rocks Ruxer to put the Nats back in the game.
This would be the Nationals last time they would score in the game.
The Rocks still had some scoring left in them and they would break the tie in the top of the eighth inning when first baseman Chris DeVito singled on a line drive in the center field to score center fielder Khalil Lee to make the game 4-3 in favor of the Rocks.
In the bottom of the eighth Arnaldo Hernandez replaced Ruxer for the Rocks and had one hit, one walk, one strikeout in 0.2 innings.
In the bottom of the ninth it was time for Rocks closer Walker Sheller to close this game out for Wilmington and he did just that with a scoreless ninth inning.
Sheller pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings for the game.
Wilmington goes for two straight wins against the Nationals at Potomac on Friday at 7:05.