Blue Rocks shutout in series finale against Crawdads

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Crawdads shortstop Max Acosta leaps over Blue Rocks catcher Matt Suggs at second base. Sunday, April 16th, 2023. Staff photographer / Tyrese Williams

The Wilmington Blue Rocks had a rocky afternoon as they dropped the series finale against the Hickory Crawdads 3-0 to fall to 4-5 for the season.

It was a rough start for Chance Huff who couldn’t find his command early on. Huff’s first nine pitches were called for balls, and that would be a trend for him throughout the game.

“Not the start we’re looking for,” Huff said. “Leading up to the first inning, I felt good going through all my warmup pitches. I just didn’t have it in the game today.”

After working out of a jam in the first inning, Huff ran into more trouble in the third. After hitting the leadoff batter in the third, Huff walked right fielder Alejandro Osuna and surrendered a two-run double to shortstop Maximo Acosta. 

“It definitely costs us,” Huff said. “We lost 3-0, two of those runs were mine in the third. It could have been 1-0 if we eliminate the free passes… That double down the line doesn’t score any if those two guys didn’t get on.”

Huff went 2 1/3 innings, surrendering two runs on two hits while striking out two and allowing three walks. 

The Rocks’ offense also struggled in the loss, striking out seven times and only reaching base four times as a team. 

“We gotta be able to hit our fastballs,” Manager Mario Lisson said. “That’s the main thing. Our approach is to hit fastballs.”

The Rocks looked like they had something brewing in the bottom of the second after a leadoff single by third baseman Trey Lipscomb. However, that was followed up with Lipscomb being thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice, a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.

In the third, Viandel Pena led off with another single and a stolen base, but he was unable to advance from second and the Rocks went the remainder of the game without having a man in scoring position. 

“We have good hitters,” Lisson said. “It’s just a matter of time when we get into a rhythm and find our groove offensively.”

The Rocks will have a day off tomorrow after six straight days of playing as they travel to Brooklyn to take on the Cyclones.

“It’s early in the season but the days off are always good,” Lisson said. “It gives us time to regroup and hopefully get back and ready on Tuesday.”

The Rocks’ series with the Cyclones will begin on Tuesday, April 18. The first pitch is set for 7 p.m. with starters to be announced. 

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