Photo Credit: Mark Carosiello

The BlueClaws Blow a Quick 5-0 Lead on Father's Day

To start the evening in the series' final game between the BlueClaws and the IronBirds, Rixon Wingrove got hit by a pitch with bases loaded. Wingrove's hit by pitch led to a score by Carlos De La Cruz. Immediately after, D.J. Stewart got his only hit of the day, bringing in a two-run double to left field. Then after a quick three outs, the batters came back up and brought in two more runs from an Ethan Wilson single and a Wingrove double.

The BlueClaws were the lesser of the two teams playing, having a record of 24-39, as opposed to the Aberdeen IronBirds, who are killing it so far, with a record of 43-20. Going up 5-0 was big, but not quite enough. The IronBirds bounced back with two runs in each of the next two innings, going down by just one heading into the fifth. Right fielder Davis Tavarez, who is currently hitting .328 on the year with a .902 OPS, hit a two-run homer in the third and a single in the fourth, accumulating all four runs.

The BlueClaws didn't get their next hit after the second until the sixth. De La Cruz, who is having a stellar year, drove a line drive to right field for a single. With two outs, De La Cruz stole to second successfully, just to have Wilson hit a fly out to the leftfield to end the inning.

De La Cruz is having a solid season for the BlueClaws, averaging .282 with three home runs and eight RBIs on the year. Standing at 6'8, he is looking to attract the Phillies to bring them to the double-A team later in the year.

Jason Ruffcorn came in to replace Andrew Baker to start the seventh, and things were looking good for Jersey Shore. Ruffcorn struck out Isaac Bellony and Connor Norby to start the inning and had Collin Burns up to bat. Burns, hitting .262 with only one home run on the season, did not seem too challenging of a hitter, but Ruffcorn threw four straight balls and walked him immediately.

With his confidence diminishing, Coby Mayo came in to hit a dagger two-run home run on a fly ball to left field, giving the IronBirds a 6-5 lead and their first one of the night.

Heading into the eighth with the IronBirds up one, they looked to extend their lead and did just that. With a runner on third, Tavarez hit a double to left field, and John Rhodes scored to increase their lead to two. With how their pitching had been since the second inning, most fans thought the game might as well be called.

But the BlueClaws didn't give up. Uziel Viloria singled a beautiful line drive, allowing Casey Martin to score at the bottom of the eighth, cutting the lead to just one.

After a force out by Stewart gave Jersey Shore two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Casey Martin came in and hit a crucial double, giving the BlueClaws runners on second and third. Baron Radcliff, hitting 0-3 on the day, came in to save the game. After dropping 0-2, Grigori Vasquez threw two balls in the dirt. With the count at 2-2, Radcliff swung on a pitch outside and missed. Although giving the IronBirds a scare, the BlueClaws lost 7-6 to end the series.

The BlueClaws look to get a winning streak going tomorrow, June 21st, against the 28-35 Brooklyn Cyclones.