Blue Rocks Update 7/11/14 – 7/14/14

Bubba Starling Wilmington
Bubba Starling paced the Blue Rocks offensively on Friday night. Photo Credit: John Sorce

Three rain-outs in four days, as well as a game that was suspended could not stop the Blue Rocks from picking up a 2-0 victory against the Salem Red Sox on Friday night.

The Blue Rocks were led by another stellar start from RHP Glenn Sparkman, who went six innings scattering three hits, walking none and striking out three. The Royals 20th round pick in the 2013 draft out of the Texas junior college ranks used the expansive outfield of Frawley to his advantage, recording 11 of his 18 outs in the air. Sparkman improved to 5-2 on the season, while lowering his already microscopic ERA even more, to a 1.43 clip.

The Blue Rocks were led offensively by 2011 fifth overall pick Bubba Starling, who went 3-4 with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. Starling lined a single through the hole on the right side of the infield and scored Terrance Gore, who reached base on an error by Red Sox pitcher Corey Littrell, from second. Starling raised his second half batting average to .291 (23-79) with his three hit night and drove in his team-leading 41st run of the season. The Blue Rocks tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Ramon Torres drove in Mike Antonio, who doubled and advanced to third on a balk, with a sacrifice fly to right field. Blue Rocks closer Mark Peterson worked around a hit batter to nail down his 18th save of the season.

The Rocks fell 2-1 and 5-1 on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Jonathan Dziedzic got the start and gave up an early run in the first, but settled down to fire six frames of one run ball. He scattered seven hits and walked two while striking out seven. Bubba Starling drove in the lone run for the Rocks, driving in Jack Lopez with an RBI single in the sixth to even up the score at one. Red Sox catcher Carson Blair hit the go-ahead home run, his eighth of the season, in the ninth off of rehabbing reliever Blake Wood.

Royals’ number five prospect according to mlb.com Miguel Almonte took the mound for game three of the series. He threw three scoreless innings out of the gate, but hit a wall in the fourth as he gave up four earned runs in that frame. He finished with 3.2 IP, nine hits, four earned runs, a walk and three strikeouts. Zeb Sneed came on and pitched well in relief, hurling 3.1 scoreless frames allowing a hit, a walk while striking out two. Cody Stubbs drove in the Rocks only run, driving in Mike Antonio from third with a sac fly. The Red Sox would tack on another run in the ninth to make it 5-1.

Monday’s game was postponed due to rain. It will be made up during the team’s final home stand from August 30 – September 1,  but no specific make-up date has been announced.

The Blue Rocks are now 43-47 on the season and 10-12 in the second half. They will travel to Potomac to face the Nationals in an intriguing four game set containing a doubleheader on Tuesday and the completion of a suspended game on Thursday. 2013 34th overall pick Sean Manaea will take the ball in game one for the Blue Rocks, while 2014 17th overall pick Brandon Finnegan will start game two.

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