The good news this weekend is that the Blue Rocks won the front and back ends of their 3 game weekend series versus the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas) in dramatic walkoff fashion. But the bad news sandwiched between those 2 games the Rocks were no hit for the 1st time in the teams’ 19 year history (that’s where the asterisk comes in). And it was on Ghostbusters’ night which is one of my favorite Blue Rocks’ promotions and Frawley Stadium was packed and I didn’t get there until the 6th inning but you could hear the whispers going through the ballpark as the Pelicans’ starter Nick Tepesch kept getting the Blue Rock side out without giving up a hit. 8th inning Tepesch walked the first 2 batters he faced but Blue Rocks’ Juan Graterol struck out trying to advance the runners with a bunt try. Myrtle Beach then brought in reliever Jimmy Reyes who got an excellent 6-4-3 double play with the shortstop ranging in the hole with a backhand flip with the ball still in his glove to the 2nd baseman who then made the relay to 1st. It really looked like if that ball could of been a split second faster, the no hitter would of been spoiled and the Rocks would of been back in the ballgame. The 9th inning was rather uneventful as the Rocks went down in order and the Pelicans’ celebration of their no hitter began. To the crowd’s credit when Tepesch left in the 8th he was given a nice ovation and most of the crowd stayed to see the end of game cause its not everyday you see a no hitter in person, even if its against your own team. And now you have to start felling bad for the Rocks pitcher Jason Adam, now 1-6, who was the loser and once again he was the victim of no run support. On a night like where your team is in the process of being no hit, there’s not much you can say but Jason is way better than his record indicates and hopefully the runs will show up for him in future starts.
Now to the good news, the 2 walkoff wins for the Blue Rocks, Friday night via a Kevin David homer and Sunday afternoon thanks to a Bret Eibner double. Friday the Blue Rocks were down 5-3 with 1 out in the 9th against the Carolina League leader in saves and ERA Randy Henry, Geulin Beltre reached 1st on an error. Then after a Roman Hernandez popout, Juan Graterol smoked a double to left center that scored Beltre. Now with 2 outs and the tying run at 2nd up comes Kevin David. After Pelicans’ pitcher Henry threw 1 pitch to David, his manager came to the mound to talk to him. One pitch after the mound visit Kevin took him deep over the left field wall for the walkoff and celebration by the Blue Rocks and the fans that stayed.
Sunday’s game was more of a pitcher’s duel between the Pelicans’ Kyle Hendricks and the Blue Rocks Sugar Ray Marimon (you gotta love that name) with Hendricks pitching 8 innings, giving up 1 run on 4 hits and 11 strikeouts and Sugar Ray pitching 6 innings with 9 strikeouts, and only 1 run and 1 hit. In the bottom of the 9th Myrtle Beach brought in reliever Francisco Mendoza who gave up a 1 out hit to Angel Franco and then Brian Fletcher followed with a single to right putting runners on 1st and 2nd. Up comes Bret Eibner and after taking the 1st pitch, smacked a fastball to deep center, turning around Pelicans’ center fielder Jake Skole, who lost the ball as it kicked up against the center field wall. Franco easily scored and the walkoff celebration began again for the 2nd time for the home team. Blue Rocks reliever Santiago Garrido pitched 3 innings for his 1st win in the Carolina League but once again Bret Eibner came up clutch for the Rocks and with the already good pitching, the clutch hitting will hopefully continue through the rest of the season and get the Rocks more wins.
I had an earlier post where I mentioned that on May 20th was Buddy Hurlock Day at the Blue Rocks and from all reports it was a great day and plenty of money was raised for his cancer treatment but sadly on Sunday night Buddy passed away at the age 40. He was the principal high school reporter for the News Journal and touched everyone with his kindness and quick wit. He was one of the guys at the News Journal that helped the Blue Rocks get more attention in the early years of the franchise.