Big inning not enough for Rocks

By Rocks PR 1:05am, August 23, 2014
A three-run second inning wasn't enough for the Blue Rocks as the Salem Red Sox stormed back to beat Wilmington, 4-3, in walk-off fashion on Friday night at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The loss spoiled a solid return to the Blue Crew for starting pitcher Brooks Pounders, who worked five strong innings. The Blue Rocks fell to 28-29 in the second half and to 61-64 overall. They trail the first-place Potomac Nationals by six games and maintain a one-game lead over the Lynchburg Hillcats for the C.L. North Wild Card spot.

Jantzen Witte provided the heroics for Salem with a bases-loaded walk-off single to left in the bottom of the 10th inning. After pitching a scoreless ninth, Andrew Edwards returned to the mound for the Blue Crew in the 10th. Matty Johnson and Carlos Asuaje greeted him with back-to-back singles. Edwards then walked Reed Gragnani intentionally to load the bases with nobody out for Witte, who promptly singled to end the game.

The Blue Rocks appeared to have a much better outlook earlier in the evening after a three-run second inning put them ahead, 3-1. Frank Schwindel kicked off the rally with a single to center and advanced to second when Jared Schlehuber was hit by a pitch. Cody Stubbs then singled to load the bases for Cam Gallagher, who doubled home Schwindel and Schlehuber. Stubbs scored on an RBI groundout from Michael Antonio.

Salem opened the scoring in the home half of the first inning courtesy of an RBI single by Reed Gragnani. Johnson led off the frame with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a flyout to right by Asuaje.

After the Blue Rocks took the lead in the second inning, the Red Sox battled back to even the score at three with single tallies in the fifth and the seventh. Gragnani plated Asuaje in the fifth with his second RBI single of the night. After a leadoff double, Dreily Guerrero came around to score on a throwing error by relief pitcher Luis Santos.

Despite taking a no-decision, Brooks Pounders was excellent on Friday for the Blue Rocks. He gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk in five innings pitched. Pounders also struck out six, which was two shy of a career-high.

Jonathan Aro (2-0, 3.00) picked up the win for Salem while Edwards (0-3, 5.56) took the loss for Wilmington.

The Rocks return to action on Saturday night at Salem Memorial Ballpark for the second of four games against the Salem Red Sox. Wilmington will send southpaw Jonathan Dziedzic (5-7, 2.61) to the mound. Salem will counter with fellow lefty Cody Kukuk (4-6, 5.13).

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