The Wilmington Blue Rocks offense was kept quiet yet again by the Hudson Valley Renegades, resulting in their second loss in as many nights, this one was in blowout fashion as they were shutout 8-0 on Thursday, September 8.
This game got out of hand quickly for the Blue Rocks. Starter Rodney Theophile walked the first two batters he faced in the game, which sparked a three-run first inning for the Renegades.
“Early in the game, Rodney [Theophile] was a little scattered with his fastball and ended up walking the first two hitters… that’s been an issue with us all season has been walks,” Pitching Coach Mark DiFelice said. “He did a good job getting out of that inning without us having to come get him… He did a good job of figuring out how to throw strikes with his fastball and then his secondary pitches looked a little bit better.”
Errors on the defensive side for the Blue Rocks were a problem early. A possible double-play opportunity was squandered by second baseman Viandel Pena committing an error resulting in a run-scoring and everyone reaching base safely. This would be the first of three errors committed for the Blue Rocks in this game.
“I think if we had a more solid defense behind us, guys willing to make plays as far as ground ball double plays, we [pitching staff] would be more willing to put balls on the ground and guys wouldn’t be more prone to get strikeouts,” DiFelice said. “It kind of gets to you a little bit but you can’t let that get to you, you gotta be able just to throw strikes, command your stuff, and just stay in it.”
The second inning also saw the Renegades tack on a run. A one-out single by designated hitter Anthony Siegler was followed up with an RBI triple by center fielder Jasson Dominguez to push the Renegade lead to 4-0 early in the game.
“It wasn’t really a nervous issue,” Theophile said. “I don’t really have much to say about it, once I started coming out of the stretch I felt a little better.”
Theophile was able to complete 4.0 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, six hits and two walks while striking out four.
“He had a clean third and fourth inning,” DiFelice said. “Outstanding job getting us through four innings.”
The scoring was far from done for the Renegades as they piled on three more runs in the fifth and one in the sixth.
The scoring started in the fifth after an error on shortstop Winder Diaz resulted in everyone being safe and a run scored. After that, an RBI single for second baseman Ben Cowles and another error on a possible double play ball pushed the lead to 7-0. In the sixth, third baseman Tyler Hardman would lead off the inning with his 22nd home run of the season, tying the Renegades’ single-season record.
“It’s just one of those games where getting ahead is important,” DiFelice said. “We have to be able to get ahead, that makes our secondary pitches a little bit more effective… it’s something that we continue to work on and hopefully get better next year.”
The Blue Rocks will look to bounce back tonight, sending right-hander Michael Cuevas out to the mound to face off against the Renegades. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m.
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