Blue Rocks’ bats wake up in 7-5 comeback win over Hickory

Jeremy De La Rosa is congratulated in the Blue Rocks dugout following his run scored. Wednesday April 12th, 2023. - Staff Photographer / Tyrese Williams

It was an exciting night at Frawley Stadium on Thursday, April 12, as the Wilmington Blue Rocks rallied their way back to defeat the Hickory Crawdads 7-5 for their first home victory of the season.

Southpaw Andrew Alvarez took the mound for the Rocks and was given a 1-0 lead off of a Wilmer Perez double in the second.

However, Alvarez would lose that lead two innings later in the top of the fourth after walking designated hitter Josh Hatcher and giving up a two-run home run to catcher Cody Freeman one batter later to give the Crawdads a 2-1 lead.

In the next inning, Alvarez would be taken deep again. This time a lead-off solo shot by Geisel Cepeda which extended the Crawdads’ lead 3-1.

“He [Alvarez] was nice,” Manager Mario Lisson said. “He was throwing in the strike zone, that’s what we want… A couple of swings late and the ball carried into right field but he did a good job.”

Alvarez would go 5.0 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits, while walking two and striking out three. 

In the fifth inning, the Rocks would start their comeback. A leadoff walk for Jake Alu, followed by a Jeremy De La Rosa single, led to a James Wood RBI single to cut the lead down to one and light the spark for a four-run inning, giving the Rocks a 5-3 lead and they never looked back. 

This win was a complete turnaround compared to the night prior, in which the Rocks could only muster up two runs in a 3-2 loss. 

“Better job offensively,” Lisson said. “I think that was the key. We were able to get runs in from third base with less than two outs and we got some key hits from the guys so I think that was the difference.”

A big part of the offensive turnaround was Washington Nationals’ number one prospect James Wood who went 3-5 with two RBI in the win, his second straight three-hit game.

“We want him to continue to take quality at-bats,” Lisson said. “The results will come but as long as he continues to take quality at-bats, that’s what we want.”

The Rocks were also aggressive on the base paths, attempting to steal five times and being successful in four of those attempts. 

“We have a lot of guys who can run,” Lisson said. “We’re gonna let them run and see what they can do. As long as we can continue to have runners in scoring positions, it’s gonna help us put runs on the board.”

The Rocks will be back at it on Friday, April 13, to take on the Crawdads, in their third game of a six-game series. The Rocks will have right-hander Andry Lara on the bump for them to start. Lara is 0-0 with 5.0 innings pitched, three strikeouts and no earned runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. 

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