Blue Rocks valiant effort not enough as losing streak continues

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The Wilmington Blue Rocks put up a fight, but couldn’t snap their losing streak on Thursday, July 6, dropping game three of their six-game series against the Brooklyn Cyclones by a final score of 7-4.

The Cyclones were able to strike first and get the scoring started early on Thursday evening, plating three runs in the opening frame. With the bases loaded and two outs, a ground ball was hit to shortstop Lucius Fox, who decided to make a quick flip to second base in an attempt to get a force out. Unfortunately, the throw was too late, which allowed Kevin Parada to score from third. In the very next at-bat, Cesar Berbesi blooped a single into left field, which allowed two more runs to score, making it a 3-0 game.

Manager Mario Lisson believes the big inning could have possibly been prevented.

“It’s unfortunate,” Lisson said. “I think the play probably would have been at first base; it’s hard to tell, good runner at the plate. It’s something we’ll talk about after the game and find out.”

From that point forward, Rocks’ starter Andrew Alvarez was able to settle in. The 6-foot-3 24-year-old did not allow a run after the first inning, totaling five innings pitched, allowing six hits and those three runs while striking out six. 

Lisson was pleased with how Alvarez was able to battle and fight through his start.

“Good job of attacking the zone,” Lisson said. “Mixing his pitches, he was able to put them down and give us a chance to get back in the game.”

The Blue Rocks began slowly chipping away at the Cyclones’ lead after the opening frame, scoring their first run in the bottom of the second thanks to a Jose Sanchez RBI single. Then, in the bottom of the third, Nick Shumpert blasted his second home run of the year over the left field wall, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

Shumpert gathered information from his teammates about the opposing pitcher’s approach, and he was able to take advantage of it during his at-bat.

“He was going with the slider a lot,” Shumpert said. “He had a good slider, so I just went up there, sat on the slider, and put a good swing on it.”

Aside from those two hiccups, Brooklyn starter Blade Tidwell was able to cruise through Wilmington’s lineup with ease. Tidwell tossed six innings of two-run ball, allowing six hits and striking out 11. Throughout the entirety of the series, the Rocks’ offense hasn’t quite been able to jump on the Cyclones’ starting pitchers, allowing them to get into a rhythm.

Shumpert knows what the offense must do to flip the script.

“Just stick to the plan, stick to what we’ve been doing,” Shumpert said. “Come out, stay aggressive, swing at pitches in the zone and we’ll be alright.”

Down 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the Rocks would not roll over. With the bases loaded and one out, Viandel Pena stepped in the box as a pinch-hitter for Shumpert and ripped a bases-loaded, two-RBI double into the right-center field gap. The Rocks were inches away from winning the game on the clutch hit, but T.J. White got thrown out at the plate and the two teams entered the tenth inning tied up at four.

Although Brooklyn would wind up scoring three runs in the top of the tenth and win the ballgame, a theme all season for the Blue Rocks has been their resiliency, as the team always fights until the final out, which has allowed them to register multiple come-from-behind and walk-off wins.

Shumpert gave insight on the group’s resiliency and their toughness.

“We just never give up,” Shumpert said. “We fight until the last out. That’s it, that’s all we can do. And then show up and keep doing the same thing.”

The Blue Rocks have now lost six consecutive games, and they will look to get back on track in game four of the series on Friday, July 7 at 6:35 p.m. EST.

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