When Onix Vega hit his third home run of the season on Wednesday, July 27, it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
Vega’s three-run homer in the sixth inning of the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ matchup against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws put his team over the edge and gave them the 6-5 comeback victory that afternoon.
“It was a fun one,” Vega said. “To get the lead, we were down a couple innings, but we came back in that inning. We all kept hitting that inning.”
The Blue Rocks went into this game looking to pick themselves up after a brutal 8-1 loss to Jersey Shore less than 24 hours prior. While it looked positive in the first inning when Wilmington got on the board first, it wouldn’t take long for the BlueClaws to change that.
Starting on the mound for Wilmington was Lucas Knowles, in only his fifth start of the season as he has been used primarily as an early innings reliever.
Knowles was able to get out of the first two innings cleanly, but allowed a run to score in the third to tie up the game and a home run from Carlos De La Cruz in the fourth to give Jersey Shore a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, Knowles got into a little more trouble and was pulled after the BlueClaws scored their fourth run of the day.
“You know there were a couple pitches left on the middle of the plate,” Blue Rocks’ Manager Mario Lisson said. “He [Knowles] had that ground ball down the middle when they were running unluckily, [Jose] Sánchez had to cover second base and the ball ended up in the outfield. He competes, we’re going to give him the chance to compete.”
After relief pitcher Garvin Alston gave up another run at the top of the sixth, the Blue Rocks went into the bottom of the inning down 5-1. This was when Jersey Shore traded starter Rafael Marcano, who contained Wilmington’s bats well and only allowed four hits, for Cam Bedrosian.
Bedrosian, a former major league player trying to climb back up there, struggled against the Blue Rocks’ High-A bats.
Right away, Jose Sánchez and Drew Millas reached first off a single and a walk, respectively. This allowed Kevin Strohschein to hit a two-RBI double to drive both of them in.
“It was good, you know that we put some at-bats together,” Lisson said. “We were having a hard time against a lefty, luckily he was out of the game. We made an adjustment against the righty, we started driving the ball to the middle of the field.”
The next at-bat, Bedrosian gave another walk, setting up the perfect situation for Vega to take the lead for the Blue Rocks. That’s exactly what he did when he blasted the ball to left center field with an 0-1 count.
“I was looking for a fastball in, but he threw me a slider right in the middle,” Vega said. “So I just saw it and swing and I got a home run.”
That’s all Wilmington needed to win the game, as the score would remain 6-5 the rest of the way.
The Blue Rocks-BlueClaws’ series is now tied at 1-1 and with a doubleheader coming up next, Wilmington is making sure they do everything they can to take the advantage.
“We have to get better at-bats as a team,” Vega said. “Play better defense, pitching better, getting ahead in the count, and we’ll be good.”
Wilmington’s doubleheader against Jersey Shore is set for Thursday, July 27, at 5:05 p.m.
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