Blue Rocks were “Just missing that big hit” in 7-2 loss to Aberdeen

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Catcher Onix Vega in his first at-bat for the Blue Rocks. Thursday, April 27, 2023. Staff Photographer / Joe Capuyan

The Wilmington Blue Rocks (8-9) dropped the third game of their homestand Thursday against the Aberdeen IronBirds (7-10) by a final score of 7-2.

A day after only tallying three hits, the Rocks offense came alive with seven hits and five walks, but were unable to capitalize as they left 14 runners on-base.

“We got on base and were just missing that big hit to get those guys in,” Blue Rocks manager Mario Lisson said.

After a clean first inning from Rocks starter Andry Lara, the IronBirds struck in the top of the second with five runs, capped off by a two-run homerun from Orioles second-ranked prospect Jackson Holliday.

Holliday ended the night with seven total bases, pairing a triple with his third homer of the season. The IronBirds finished with ten hits.

“We just have to keep attacking the strike zone,” Lisson said. “They had a good day at the plate today.”

With Lara taken out in the third inning, the Blue Rocks bullpen did an honorable job in keeping the game close. Dannel Diaz issued the only earned run from the bullpen in six innings of work combined.

Nick Pogue, Jack Sinclair, and Jaren Zinn dominated the last four frames as they held the IronBirds hitless and picked up five strikeouts combined.

“They’ve been doing a great job this season. They’re competing while throwing strikes, which is what we want,” Lisson stated. “Hopefully we can keep riding a good bullpen.” 

On the receiving end of the Blue Rocks bullpen outing was catcher Onix Vega, who, having been with the Rochester Red Wings, had to travel from upstate New York to Wilmington upon his assignment to the Blue Rocks Thursday.

“I woke up at 5:30 in the morning, brought all the luggage down to the car, and started driving here,” Vega said, noting the drive to be about five and a half hours.

Even though Vega had a quick start to his day Thursday, he had a quicker start to the game by drilling a line drive double in his first at bat as a member of the Blue Rocks. He would score on a sacrifice fly later that inning.

“Bat feels good,” Vega said. “I’ve been working on my hitting lately, that was my first goal of the year, so it feels good to be back.”

Vega understands the areas he needs to improve while in Wilmington if he is expected to be called back-up.

“Keep working on my catching and throwing to second-base. My hitting keeps getting better and knowing the strike zone,” Vega listed.

Weather permitting, the Blue Rocks look to comeback in the series as they close out the homestand this weekend.

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