Blue Rocks drop to 0-2 versus Pelicans in CL Championship

The Wilmington Blue Rocks were shut out by visiting Myrtle Beach, 2-0 in Game 2 of the Carolina League Championship. The series now moves to Myrtle Beach with the Pelicans up 2-0 in the series.

It was the Blue Rocks final home game of the 2015 season.

Blue Rocks starter Jake Junis on September 7, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Blue Rocks starter Jake Junis on September 7, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

The Pelicans jumped on Blue Rocks starter Jake Junis in the very first inning and once again, Victor Caratini was the culprit.

With one out, Pin-Chieh Chen singled and with two outs, came around to score on Caratini’s double to right field.

“[Caratini] is having a good series,” Blue Rocks manager Brian Buchanan said after the loss. “He’s locked in right now from both sides of the plate. When he bats right-handed his average isn’t as good, but he smoked that ball tonight. He’s really the one that’s killing us.”

After the shaky first inning (two hits and a walk), Junis settled down to allow just one hit over the next five scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Unfortunately, the Blue Rocks offense was baffled by Pelicans starter Tyler Skulina, as they collected just one hit off him (a fourth inning single from Mauricio Ramos).

In the fourth, the Blue Rocks had two men on base and nobody out, but could not score. In the sixth against Pelicans reliever Daury Torrez, the Blue Rocks loaded the bases with one out. However Cam Gallagher grounded into a force out and Humberto Arteaga fouled out.

“Tonight we swung at a lot of bad pitches,” Buchanan said. “In the fourth and sixth we had opportunities to put some runs up and we didn’t get anything. I think there’s a fine line between being aggressive at the plate and swinging at bad pitches. We’ve got to figure that out for the next three games. We swung at a lot of breaking balls in the dirt and pitches out of the zone early. Skulina, I didn’t think he threw the ball that great, but he was throwing it where we were swinging at it.”

Blue Rocks reliever Estarlin Cordero pitching on September 6, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

Blue Rocks reliever Estarlin Cordero pitching on September 6, 2015 (Jen Nevius).

The Pelicans added some insurance in the ninth against Estarlin Cordero, who was in his third inning of work. Cordero has not gone two or more innings since August 16th (seven outings in between).

Chen singled to start the inning and Chicago Cubs rehabber Jorge Soler followed with a single. Caratini then blasted a shot to center (another double) to score Chen. Soler was thrown out at the plate, as he did not slide. After a ground out to first base moved Caratini to third base, in came Yender Caramo to get the final out (a ground ball to third base).

Caratini is now 5-for-8 with three RBIs in the series.

 

The series now moves to Myrtle Beach on Wednesday with the Blue Rocks sending Alec Mills to the mound in Game 3. The Pelicans will be sending fellow All-Star Duane Underwood for the clincher.

 

*Mike Hill made his playoff debut, as he pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth against side armer David Berg. He grounded out, as did the other two Blue Rocks hitters in the inning.

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About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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