Moose powers Rocks to weekend series win

The Blue Rocks lost on Friday, but they rebounded with victories on Saturday and Sunday over Lynchburg to win their second straight series while moving into a first place tie with the Lynchburg Hillcats. Mike Moustakas slammed his first two home runs of the season in the two wins, while outfielder David Lough also had a big weekend.

High-A: Wilmington Blue Rocks – Weekend report

Friday: Lynchburg 4, Wilmington 3
Saturday: Wilmington 9, Lynchburg 3
Sunday: Wilmington 8, Lynchburg 7

RBI singles by David Lough and Derrick Robinson staked the Rocks to a 2-0 lead on Friday, but starter Mario Santiago ran into trouble in the fifth inning. The Hillcats took a 4-2 lead with four runs in the inning, ending Santiago's day after 4.2 innings pitched. Jason Godin entered with two outs and ended the damage by recording a strikeout. Godin then pitched three more beautiful innings, surrendering just one hit and no runs in 3.1 IP. In 8.2 innings so far this season, the Old Dominion product sports a 1.04 ERA.

Ben Swaggerty finished up with one inning, recording his third straight scoreless outing, but the Rocks couldn't capitalize on the solid effort from the bullpen as they fell, 4-3. Santiago got his second loss in as many starts, and his ERA now stands at 10.57, a disappointing start for the 24-year-old.

At the plate, the Blue Rocks recorded 10 hits, with first baseman Clint Robinson leading the way with a 3-for-4 effort, including a double and an RBI. David Lough and Derrick Robinson both finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, while shortstop Jeff Bianchi was 1-for-3. Third baseman Mike Moustakas was hitless in five at bats.

On Saturday, the Blue Rocks got back on track with a 9-3 win over the Hillcats. Starting pitcher Everett Teaford turned in his second straight solid start, scattering four hits over 5.0 innings with surrendering just one run while picking up his first victory of the year. The 24-year-old southpaw this season now has a 1.93 ERA with 11 strikeouts and just two walks in 9.1 innings pitched. Chris Chavez and Craig Rodriguez pitched the final four frames, preserving the Blue Rocks' sixth win of the season while combining to allow just one run on three hits.

Offensively, Moustakas gave the Blue Rocks a big jolt with a pair of extra base hits – including his first home run of the season – and three RBIs. He finished 2-for-4. Catcher Ryan Eigsti was 3-for-3 with two doubles, a walk, and an RBI, while Lough was 2-for-4 for the second straight day. Atop the lineup, Derrick Robinson was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, along with his Carolina League-leading seventh stolen base of the season.

In Sunday's rubber match, the Blue Rocks survived a mediocre starting effort by Alex Caldera, who entered the game with a 2.00 ERA over his previous two starts. Caldera allowed five earned runs in four innings pitched, putting the Rocks into an early hole. Reliever Kelvin Villa took over in the fifth inning, and he kept Wilmington within striking distance with four strong innings, in which he surrendered just one run on three hits.

Trailing 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Blue Rocks mounted a big rally. Lough drove in Johnny Giavotella with a double to cut the lead to two, and outfielder Paulo Orlando stepped to the plate and slammed a one-out, three-run home run to left field, giving the Rocks a one-run lead.

That lead was short-lived, however, as Rocks' reliever Aaron Hartsock surrendered a two-out solo home run to Pedro Alvarez in the top of the ninth. Hartsock recovered from his blown save, however, getting the final out of the ninth and then working a scoreless 10th as the game moved to extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Anthony Seratelli delivered a two-out, walk-off RBI bunt single, scoring Bianchi as the Blue Rocks prevailed, 8-7. Hartsock was rewarded with his first victory of the season.

At the plate, Moustakas homered for the second straight game, going 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Lough capped off a 7-for-13 weekend by going 3-for-5 on Sunday, and he's now hitting .317 after a slow start. Giavotella scored two runs, while Orlando finished 1-for-5 with the three-run home run, his first of the year.

The first place Blue Rocks (7-4) now host the Salem Avalanche for a three-game series starting Monday night. The Avalanche (6-5) are riding a three-game winning streak, but they face a tough test in the series opener, as Danny Duffy is scheduled to pitch for the Blue Rocks. Duffy has been outstanding so far this season, posting a 1-0 record and a 0.93 ERA in two starts. The 20-year-old southpaw has struck out 12 batters while yielding just five hits and two walks in 9.2 innings pitched.

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