Blue Rocks’ offense goes silent in series finale against IronBirds

TJ White tracks the ball after his swing. White hit his fourth double of the year in the loss to Aberdeen. - Sunday, May 19, 2024. / Photo via Payton Tuorto

The Wilmington Blue Rocks (19-18) fell in the final game of their homestand to the Aberdeen IronBirds (20-19) by a score of 6-2 on a cloudy Sunday afternoon at Frawley Stadium. The team still won the series 4-2.

Luke Young got the start on the bump for Wilmington and did not have one of his better outings of the season. A three-run home run was Young’s biggest mistake of the day as has been a common case throughout the season, as he is second in the South Atlantic League with seven home runs given up this season.

The IronBirds would also hit a two-run home run in the top of the fourth against reliever Nick Pogue. Other than that one mistake by the bullpen, they were lights out for Wilmington, like usual.

“They keep doing a good job out there,” manager Mario Lisson said. “I mean it is really all of them doing great, so we really hope they continue to do that for us.” 

The Blue Rocks struggled against IronBirds’ starter Edgar Portes. Portes has been one of the best pitchers in High-A this season, with a 2.35 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. After the game, Lisson talked about how the team’s approach was not the problem in the game, which is just a credit to how well Portes is throwing right now.

The Rocks were finally able to get some offense going once Portes was removed after five no-hit innings with six strikeouts. 

T.J. White finally got Wilmington into the hit column with a double in the sixth with a double, his fourth of the season.

After that first hit from White, the team’s offense was able to get some momentum going. Later that inning, Viandel Pena would score White with a single. 

The only other run the Rocks would score would be in the eighth when Phillip Glasser scored in a weird circumstance. Glasser was first hit by a pitch, then advanced to third after a pair of wild pitches, and finally, scored on a balk.

The Blue Rocks will now embark on a two-week road series, their longest road stretch of the season. Wilmington has been struggling on the road throughout the season. At home, they are 14-5 compared to 5-13 on the road.

“We have to stay aggressive on the road,” Lisson said. “We have to stay consistent with how we play here. We have to build it up one day at a time play how we play here.”

The offense for Wilmington has been the main problem on the road. In their most recent series against the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, they scored one run in four of the six games and would not score above three in any single game. The pitching was not where they wanted it to be, allowing four runs or more in five of the six games either. They hope to fix both those issues in Rome, Georgia against the Emperors. 

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