Blue Rocks combine for 14 runs in second double-header sweep of season

Trey Lipscomb (left), Andry Lara (middle), Leandro Emiliani (right). Thursday, April 27, 2023. - Staff Photographer / Joe Capuyan

The Wilmington Blue Rocks outscored the Brooklyn Cyclones 14-5 in their two games on Wednesday night to sweep a doubleheader and get back to .500 on the season.

In game one, the Rocks got things going early. After a quiet first inning, the Rocks exploded for seven runs in the second capped off by a three-run home run from Nationals’ no. 1 prospect James Wood.

For starter Andry Lara, the seven-run cushion was more than enough. In his best outing of the season, Lara went 6.0 innings, allowing no runs on three hits while walking one and striking out six for his first win of the season. 

“It feels good,” Lara said. “It’s my first outing with zeros up there and my first game win.”

With or without the early run support, Lara was locked in.

“In my mind, I was just thinking the game was 0-0 so I just kept attacking the zone,” Lara said. 

In the seventh, the Cyclones would break up the shutout with a four-run inning to make things close but Miguel Gomez was able to work himself out of a jam to close the door on game one.

In game two, it was much of the same. However, the Rocks would act as the road team in game two and would again waste no time getting on the board.

In the first, Viandel Pena hit a leadoff double on the first pitch of the game and would later score on an RBI groundout by James Wood. The Rocks would not stop there though as a two-out double for Onix Vega and a single for Trey Lipscomb were followed by a two-run triple for Jared McKenzie to make it 3-0 Rocks early.

“Across the board, we’re starting to get going,” McKenzie said. “Weather warms up a little bit, people start to put balls in gaps.” 

The Rocks would get going again in the third, as Wood led off with a single and would reach second via a throwing error on a pickoff attempt. A sacrifice fly from Lipscomb would later bring in Wood to give the Rocks, and starter Lucas Knowles, a 4-0 cushion. 

“It [the run support] makes it [pitching] easy,” Knowles said. “It makes it easy to just have confidence throwing strike one, there’s plenty of room if you give up a couple of big hits…When your hitters put up seven, life is pretty good.”

In the bottom half of the third, the Cyclones would break up Knowles’ shutout and no-hit bid with a leadoff solo home run off the bat of Drake Osborn, his first at the High A level. That would be it for the Cyclones offense though as Knowles and Marlon Perez would combine for 6.0 innings, allowing one run on three hits while walking four and striking out nine. Perez would be rewarded with the win. 

In the sixth, the Rocks would put the game out of reach. An infield single by Wilmer Perez followed by a double for Leandro Emiliani was capped off with a two-run triple for Jordy Barley, the Rocks’ second two-run triple of the game, to make it 7-1.

In the seventh, the Cyclones would go down in order to secure the doubleheader sweep for the Blue Rocks and give them a 2-1 lead in the series. 

With four games remaining in the series, the teams will be back at it tonight. The Rocks will send out right-hander Dustin Saenz to face Cameron Foster and the Cyclones. Saenz (1-1) went 5.0 innings in his last home outing, allowing one run on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts in a win against the Aberdeen IronBirds. He will look to keep the momentum going for himself and the Rocks tonight with the first pitch scheduled for 6:35. 

For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.