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Blue Rocks Drop Game One 7-5 to Crawdads

April 19, 2022

In a Tuesday night series opener, the Wilmington Blue Rocks fell to the Hickory Crawdads 7-5.

In a Tuesday night series opener, the Wilmington Blue Rocks fell to the Hickory Crawdads 7-5.

From the jump, Wilmington struggled on defense. In the first inning, starting pitcher Matt Merrill walked three batters and allowed three runs. He did not have much help in the field, as his team made two errors.

The Blue Rocks almost had a big answer in the bottom of the first with the bases loaded and no outs, but they could only muster one run.

At the top of the third inning, relief pitcher Malvin Pena replaced Merrill on the mound. Pena struck out six straight Hickory opponents over the course of the next two innings, which gave his team life after a slow start to the day.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Blue Rocks began to find themselves offensively. They posted three runs to give them a 4-3 lead, which was capped off by a game-leading score by center fielder Cody Wilson.

Pena remained on the mound in the fifth inning, but his strikeout streak would run out. He walked his first opponent in Evan Carter, who then went on to score after Christian Iona drove him in with a game-tying RBI double to right field. Pena’s night came to an end after that when Ike Schlabach came in to replace him.

The two teams would exchange runs over the next few innings. Many of those scores were a result from runners getting put on base following a string of pop-up errors from both teams.

At the start of the ninth inning, the Crawdads were up 7-5. That would end up being the final score of the ballgame, as Hickory prevented the Blue Rocks from causing any damage during their final at-bats.

The two teams will meet again on Wednesday, with game time scheduled to begin at 6:35 p.m. again.