Blue Rocks drop series finale against Renegades, experience offensive woes despite Glasser’s big day

Phillip Glasser gets set in the field. The 24-year-old continued his hot streak on Sunday, June 9. going 4-5 at the plate with a home run and two RBIs. - Sunday, June 9, 2024 / Photo via Ryan Griffith

The Wilmington Blue Rocks couldn’t secure the tie in their eight-game series against the Hudson Valley Renegades on Sunday, June 9, dropping the finale by a final score of 8-2.

Over the course of the series, the Rocks experienced both highs and lows at the plate. Timely hitting was a common theme in their three victories, but throughout their five losses, there wasn’t much to write home about offensively, and that was certainly the case on Sunday. Wilmington mustered only seven hits in the game, left ten men on base, and went just 1-15 with runners in scoring position.

“They [Hudson Valley] have good arms, everyone at this level has good arms that they roll out,” Glasser said. “You play eight games in six days, you’re going to have some really good games and really bad games. When we play them next, we have a lot of at-bats against those pitchers, see how they’re attacking. Just keep improving our game plan and approach to that day and just keep getting better.”

In addition, the Rocks struck out 17 times on Sunday, nine of which came from Hudson Valley starter Cam Schlittler, who only allowed one run and dropped his ERA to 2.15 on the season, further cementing his case as one of the top High-A pitchers in 2024.

“It’s just learning what’s going on, why the strikeouts are happening,” Glasser said. “If we’re missing pitches, if we’re swinging at bad pitches. Whatever that is, I’m not really too sure about that, but I’m sure we’ll go in and try and figure that out, and just keep improving every day.”

Despite the lackluster performance overall, Glasser was a major bright spot in Wilmington’s lineup. The 24-year-old went 4-5 at the dish with a home run and two RBIs, which continued the blistering-hot stretch he’s been on for the past two weeks.

“Staying on the fastball, he was heavy fastball up to that point,” Glasser said. “And then he hung that slider, and then it’s just being able to stay through the zone and put a good swing on it.”

Glasser got off to a slow start after initially being called up to High-A in late April, but as previously mentioned, he’s been on an absolute heater in recent weeks, batting .436 with 12 RBIs in his last 15 games, a stretch that also included a ten-game hitting streak.

“It’s really just getting my routine back,” Glasser said. “Just doing the things that I do to make me successful, and just getting in a rhythm with a new team. Those guys, we mesh really well, so it’s easy to play here.”

On the mound, Jose Atencio didn’t have his sharpest stuff for the second time this series. On Sunday, the 22-year-old pitched four innings, allowing nine hits and five runs (four earned). This comes just five days after he threw five innings of eight-run ball (five earned) in the series opener on Tuesday, June 4.

Hudson Valley has one of the deepest lineups in the league, as they’ve been in or near the top three in the South Atlantic League in terms of team batting average all season long. That certainly caught up to Atencio at different points throughout his outings.

“They’re a good hitting team,” Glasser said. “He’s a competitor, he threw it in. Some things didn’t go his way today, some balls dropped. He’s a competitor at heart, so I know he’ll go back and be ready for next week. It’s a long season, it’s June, so we’ve got like three more months. He’s gonna learn from it and keep getting better.”

Up next for Wilmington is a road trip to Jersey Shore to kick off a six-game series against the Blue Claws. One month ago, the Blue Claws dominated the Blue Rocks, sweeping the six-game series between the two teams while outscoring them 30-10. Despite that, Glasser is confident in the Rocks’ ability to bounce back and put forth a better performance the second time around.

“Just go back and watch how they were pitching us, we didn’t hit that good that week,” Glasser said. “Understand the approach we need to have and things we need to change. Just recapping those games and seeing what went wrong, and going back there and responding.”

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