Wilmington Blue Rocks Split Surprise Opening Day Doubleheader Against Brooklyn Cyclones

Darren Baker during an at-bat. Baker scored one run during the two game doubleheader against Brooklyn. Saturday, April 9. - Staff Photographer / Tyrese Williams

In a surprise doubleheader for the High-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Wilmington Blue Rocks faced off against the Brooklyn Cyclones. They ended the night 1-1 after their first win of the season– and first subsequent loss. 

The Blue Rocks started off hot in the first game of their opening day doubleheader, scoring three runs within the first inning of the game, an answer to the sole run from their opponent.

Brooklyn’s Wilmer Ryes, the team’s shortstop, was the first to score in game one when he was brought in on a RBI single from third baseman Jose Perzoa.

Yasel Antuna, the first-game left fielder for the Blue Rocks, was the man to answer back after he hit a RBI single to bring home Jordy Barley to tie the game and set Darren Baker up at third for his eventual run scored within the next play. Prior to that, Barley was walked before he stole second and advanced to third during a wild pitch from Brooklyn’s starter Junior Santos. 

It was another wild pitch from Santos that had Baker, the game-one second baseman, running home to advance the game 2-1. This was Baker’s first run with the Blue Rocks, after only being acquired by the Washington Nationals in the 2021 Draft. 

“It’s always nice [to score] in the first inning,” Baker said. “Everybody’s a little nervous, you know, first game.” 

Only three pitches later Atuna would score to close out the bottom of the first with the Blue Rocks on top, 3-1.

The next four innings would be scoreless for both the Cyclones and the Blue Rocks. Starting pitcher Mitchell Parker struck out the side during the second inning and the Cyclones saw little-to-no movement across the bases during innings two through six. 

First baseman Drew Mendoza would be the next Blue Rock to score in the bottom of the sixth after Jose Sanchez, third baseman, was walked with the bases loaded. Omar Meregildo (DH) would be the last run in game one off a sac fly from center fielder Cody Wilson. 

The second game of the night got off to a slow start from both teams, with no scoring occurring within the first four innings of the game. 

The visiting Cyclones were the first to break the 0-0 game with a two-run triple from Rowdey Jordan. Catcher Nic Gaddis and right fielder Joe Suozzi made it home to account for Brooklyn’s sole runs in the game. 

With fans on the edge of their seats, the Blue Rocks finally made headway in the bottom of the seventh. After Brooklyn second baseman Wilmer Reyes dropped a toss from third baseman Jose Peroza in an attempted double play to end the game, Meregildo scored his second run of the night to add the first score to the Blue Rocks’ tally.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to change the fate of the game and the Brooklyn Cyclones emerged victorious, 2-1.

Despite the first-game win and final loss, Manager Mario Lisson credits the starting pitchers of both games for their hard work and technique.

“[Mitchell] Parker was really good, actually. He was able to pitch inside, use his fastball very well… That helped out him and Cuevas,” Lisson said. “I thought he [Cuevas] competed well without his best stuff. He was behind some, but he was able to get back in balance and use his breaking ball to get back in”

The Blue Rocks will have less than 24-hours to recover from their back-to-back games as they face the Cyclones one last time to close out the series on Sunday, April 10, with the first pitch starting at 1:05 p.m.

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