The Wilmington Blue Rocks (28-34) dropped their second straight series on Sunday after a 1-0 loss in their series finale against the Jersey Shore Blue Claws (33-29).
After a few nights of high scoring offense, Sunday’s matinee was a classic pitcher’s duel. For the Rocks, it was Rodney Thephile on the mound. Theophile entered the game 0-1 in five starts with a 4.64 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.
After a quick first inning, Theophile found himself in some trouble in the second.
With runners on first and second and two outs, Theophile was called for a balk, advancing the runners to second and third. Theophile was able to force catcher Andrick Nava into a groundout to end the inning unscathed.
In the bottom of the third, the Blue Rocks faced their best opportunity. A leadoff double by TJ White was followed by a single into right field by Nick Shumpert. Shumpert would then steal second to make it second and third with nobody out with and top of the lineup coming up.
The Rocks would then falter with runners in scoring position. Cody Wilson would strikeout, Viandel Pena would groundout and Jared McKenzie would flyout to end the inning and the keep the score tied at 0-0.
White would stay in the action two innings later. A leadoff single by Jared Carr ricocheted off the foot of Theophile and set the Claws up for business in the fifth. After advancing to second on a wild pitch, Carr would have a chance to score on a single into right by Wlfredo Flores. As Carr rounded third, McKenzie threw a fastball in from right field that appeared to have a chance to get him at the plate but it would be cut off by White, allowing Carr to score the only run of the game.
“I didn’t hear anything from [Matt] Suggs, so I kinda just cut it off,” White said.
In the bottom of the fifth, White would leadoff again and reach base again, this time with a walk.
White began to find his groove at the plate during this series, batting .412 with seven hits, one walk, two RBIs and a run scored in five games.
“I’m just trying to time it,” White said. “I’m hustling, I’m doing everything I wasn’t doing before and I’m getting the results.”
Theophile would be pulled after the fifth and would be relieved by Marlon Perez. Theophile went 5.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits while surrendering one walk and striking out four.
The Rocks would continue to make some solid contact but would not get another runner on base until the ninth. In the sixth, Will Frizzell ripped a line drive that looked like it could have gone for a double but was snatched out of the air by third baseman Nick Ward to end the inning.
Despite the 1-0 loss, Sunday was a special day as it was also Father’s Day and White’s biggest fan was in the crowd cheering him on.
“[Him being here] means a lot to me,” White said. “He’s been there since day one, he’s helped me through the ups and downs, given me a lot of great advice to help me be the man that I am today.”
The Rocks will be back in action on Tuesday as they begin a seven game series against the Aberdeen IronBirds with a double header set for Wednesday. Tuesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
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