Cyclones Late Rally Spoils Blue Rocks July 4th Celebration

RHP Kyle Luckham cleans off the rubber before his start. Tuesday, July 4, 2023. - Photo via @WilmBlueRocks on Twitter

Frawley Stadium was fitted for an Independence Day-themed ballgame Tuesday, where the Wilmington Blue Rocks (33-41) hosted the Brooklyn Cyclones (35-40).

The pristine weather conditions favored Blue Rocks starter Kyle Luckham, who finished his six-inning outing with six strikeouts, no walks, and surrendering only one run on six hits. He only allowed two hits through the first four.

“I felt good today,” Luckham said. “I really had my sinker going, threw some good changeups off that. Really upped the usage with that [combination] and thought I had some good success.”

“He did a good job attacking. That’s the goal, attack the batters and make them earn it,” manager Mario Lisson said, expressing that the key for Luckham was pitching inside with success.

Luckham exited the game with the Blue Rocks holding a 4-1 lead. Three runs came in the bottom of the second, where a leadoff walk from Jeremy De La Rosa and a double from T.J. White set up Leandro Emiliani for an RBI groundout. Which was then immediately followed by an RBI single from Geraldi Diaz that brought in White. Diaz would score later in the inning on a throwing error from Brooklyn third basemen Junior Tilien.

The big inning allowed T.J. White to come up to the plate in the third, where he tallied his 25th RBI on a deep triple to centerfield that scored Will Frizzell.

“I knew he was a two-seam guy, so I knew I couldn’t pull off the ball and hook everything,” White said. “I’m just trying to balance my approach to the middle of the field and the other way, and I was fortunate enough to catch two pitches that were exactly what I was looking for.”

Tuesday’s performance was already White’s second two-hit game in July. The 19-year-old is looking to bounce back from an up-and-down first half of the season.

“I think in the first half, I was just getting acclimated with playing first base and I think that kind of took a toll on my at-bats,” White said. “But I think now that I’ve got that figured out pretty much I’m good to go.”

As the game moved into the bullpen, things began to turn for the Blue Rocks. Coming off two hitless outings, Dannel Diaz would be tacked for one run in the top of the seventh inning, but let the first two batters on-base in the eighth. Holden Powell was tasked to limit the damage but instead walks in a run to make it 4-3 Blue Rocks. The next batter, Junior Tilien would drill a liner right back to Powell which careened to the edge of the infield grass, allowing the tying runner to score from third. A sacrifice fly from Rhylan Thomas would give the Cyclones their first lead of the game.

An insurance run in the top of the ninth and a shutdown inning from Paul Gervase in the bottom half capped off the victorious Cyclones’ late rally.

The Blue Rocks will look to even up the series Wednesday when the two squads face off at 6:35 p.m.

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