Strong Pitching Leads to Wilmington Blue Rocks Victory

Mitchell Parker throwing a pitch. Parker had nine strikeouts on Wednesday night. Wednesday, April 20, 2022. - Staff Photographer / Ashley Craven

Following a disappointing loss in their first game of the series against the Hickory Crawdads, the Wilmington Blue Rocks came out looking for revenge in game two on Wednesday evening.

The Blue Rocks ultimately took home the 3-0 win to even up the series, thanks in large part to starting pitcher Mitchell Parker and his strong performance on the mound. 

“I was looking to come out and attack the zone,” Parker said. “Throw a lot of strikes, keep the game moving for our guys. Get out of the inning quick, get back to the plate, and see how many runs we can score.”

The bats were on fire to start the game, with RBI singles from first baseman Omar Meregildo and right fielder Kevin Strohschein giving the Blue Rocks an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. After that mini offensive explosion, the bats went somewhat quiet the rest of the way.

Manager Mario Lisson isn’t concerned with the team’s offensive approach following Wednesday’s battle. 

“We hit the ball hard throughout the game, there were balls that were hit sharply that just didn’t find a hole or just didn’t find some grass,” Lisson said. “It is a part of the game, I think we’ve done a good job with our bats, hitting the ball hard and trying to spread the ball all over the field. Some days they fall, on other days they don’t. As long as we continue to stay aggressive on that fastball, we’ll be alright.”

Parker completed 5.2 shutout innings, while only allowing two hits, two walks, and striking out nine Crawdads in the process.

After Parker got pulled, the bullpen picked up where he left off. Gilberto Chu threw 1.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts, then Tyler Yankosky came in and shut the door on the Crawdads with two scoreless innings with three strikeouts, picking up the save in the process. 

Lisson had high praise for his team’s pitching after the game.

“Attacking the strike zone, establishing the fastball on both sides of the plate,” Lisson said. “Once you establish the fastball, your secondary stuff works better. I think the guys today did a great job of staying ahead in the count and establishing that fastball.”

Wednesday’s start was nothing new for Parker this season, as through three starts, he holds a 2-0 record with a 1.23 ERA.

Parker spoke about how he can continue this dominance throughout the rest of the season.

“I just have to attack every day,” Parker said. “Keep getting guys out, use the whole field, strike guys out. I have eight other guys back there that are ready to field the ball for me, so cut down on the walks and keep it moving for them.”

With the series all knotted up at one game a piece, both teams will be looking to take the series lead in their next game on Thursday, April 21, at 6:35 p.m.

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