The Wilmington Blue Rocks returned home on Tuesday, May 17, to kick off a six-game home series against fellow division foe, the Jersey Shore BlueClaws.
So far this season, the BlueClaws have found themselves looking up, sitting in last place in the South Atlantic League North Division. The Blue Rocks came out on Tuesday and took care of business, securing a 12-7 win.
This game could not have started any better for Wilmington. After the first two innings, the Blue Rocks had an 8-0 lead that was highlighted by a Yasel Antuna long ball and a Drew Mendoza bases-clearing, 3-RBI double.
Although the BlueClaws would fight their way back and ultimately cut their deficit to as little as an 8-7 lead after the third inning, the Blue Rocks stayed in the driver’s seat all night long.
The win also gives the Blue Rocks their first three-game win streak of the season.
“We have been in almost every game this year,” Manager Mario Lisson said. “These guys today, offensively, we did a good job. And the relief pitchers, after that third inning where they put up seven runs, did a nice job of shutting them down and giving us a chance to get back on the offensive side.”
Mendoza led the way for the Blue Rocks on offense in this one. Mendoza went 3-4 at the plate with a home run, a double, and a team-high 5 RBIs, while also coming around to score two runs.
Mendoza shared what was working for him up at the plate.
“Just trying to see the ball in a good hitting zone,” Mendoza said. “I got some good pitches to hit early and I got to capitalize on them, it’s a good feeling.”
Mendoza is starting to get hot, as he has now had multiple-hit games in three out of his last four, and his batting average is creeping closer to the .300 mark.
Mendoza continues to put in the work each and every day to assure that this hot streak will not die down.
“Just trying to stay consistent with routines and working in the cages every day with our hitting guys,” Mendoza said. “[I] just gotta stay consistent and continue to work.”
Going into a game like this, where a less superior opponent is on the other side, it is easy for a team to let their guard down and let the game slip away. Lisson made sure that would not be the case on Tuesday evening.
“It doesn’t matter who we face,” Lisson said. “We prepare every day no matter what. This is development. We’re going to prepare, develop these guys early, get the work in. Then when the game starts, we’re going to continue to develop and play hard. That’s what we do, it doesn’t matter if we play the first-place team or the last-place team.”
In terms of finding some more consistency on a game-to-game basis, to make sure that winning streaks like these are the new normal, Lisson is confident in his team’s ability to be able to make that happen.
“We continue to put our work in,” Lisson said. “Obviously guys are still making adjustments, that’s a part of development. These guys are at this level for a reason, and they’re showing strides. That’s the main thing, continuing to improve daily. That’s what I like to see.”
Wilmington started off their six-game homestand with a bang on Tuesday evening, and they will look to make it four in a row when they face Jersey Shore for game two on Wednesday, May 18.
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