After dropping their previous matchup, the Wilmington Blue Rocks walked away from another battle against the Brooklyn Cyclones on Friday, June 17, with a 4-3 win.
Wilmington started the night by tallying their first run at the bottom of the first. After Jeremy Ydens reached first on a throwing error by Cyclones shortstop Shervyen Newton, he made it to second on a sac bunt from Darren Baker, and was able to round third to come home off of an RBI single from Nick Bank to mark the first run of the game.
The Blue Rocks made it a point to add to their score at the bottom of the second when Ydens hit a ground ball to shortstop that sent Israel Pineda in to set the game 2-0.
“I was lead-off today,” Ydens said. “So it [hitting] was more just about getting on base for the big bats– you know: three, four, five, six. It worked out and I was able to get on base more.”
The Brooklyn Cyclones wouldn’t see their first run of the night until the top of the fifth when Matt O’Neill doubled on a fly ball to left field that sent designated hitter Warren Saunders home to set the score at 2-1.
The Blue Rocks were quick to further this division, however, tallying two more runs in the bottom of the seventh. Both runs were brought in off a home run blast from Nick Banks, the outfielder from the Triple-A Rochester Redwings who was sent to Wilmington on rehab assignment as of June 11.
The eighth inning almost saw the start of a Brooklyn comeback helmed by a Rowdey Jordan double that allowed Matt Rudick to start rounding the bases. At the last second, Blue Rocks’ right fielder Kevin Strohschein hurled the ball towards catcher Pineda to tag Rodick out at home.
Brooklyn did see some success in shortening the Blue Rocks’ lead by two in the top of the ninth. The inning started with a pitching change from relief pitcher Jose A. Ferrer to Tyler Yankosky. However, before ending the first at-bat, Yankosky was taken out for injury and replaced with Amos Willingham.
“We’re trying to diagnose that [injury] right now,” Pitching Coach Mark DiFelice said. “We’re not quite sure, it might be a [latissimus dorsi injury]. I’m not sure yet.”
Following this, third-baseman Nic Gaddis hit an RBI single to send in J.T. Schwartz and Warren Saunders ground into a force out allowing Jaylen Palmer to run home. This was all the damage Brooklyn would do though, as the game ended 4-3.
The win was given to starting pitcher Tim Cate, who dealt 49 strikes over 89 pitches through the end of the sixth inning. Cate was able to strike out four players during this time to end with an ERA of 2.72.
“We’ve been trying to increase his pitch count,” DiFelice said. “If anybody gets called up to, say, the next level, they want them to go about 95 to 100 [pitches]… To go deep in the game– six, seven innings – is what we hope to achieve in starting pitchers in this organization.”
Subsequently, Brooklyn’s starting pitcher, Oscar Rojas, was handed the loss after the first two Blue Rocks runs were made during his time on the mound.
The Blue Rocks will continue their eight-game series against the Brooklyn Cyclones on Saturday, June 18, in their second doubleheader of the series. First pitch will commence at 5:05 p.m. with the second seven-inning game taking place immediately after.
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