WILMINGTON, Del. (July 7, 2023) — Down a run with the bases empty and two out in the ninth, the Cyclones rallied to go ahead on a three-run SS Junior Tilien home run, as Brooklyn bested the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 3-1, on Friday night at Frawley Stadium.
The win provided the ‘Clones (10-3, 38-40) with their season-best fifth-straight victory. It is Brooklyn’s longest winning streak since they captured six-consecutive games from September 3-9, 2022.
With the bases empty and two out in the ninth, 2B Chase Estep popped a 2-0 pitch into shallow left field for what appeared to be the final out of the game. However, neither the left or center fielder could find the ball in the twilight sky. Estep’s fly ball dropped on the outfield grass for a single, keeping Brooklyn afloat.
Following a four-pitch walk to 1B Mateo Gil and a mound visit from the pitching coach, Tilien demolished the next offering into the Cyclones’ left-field bullpen for a go-ahead three-run home run. The 20-year-old’s third blast with Brooklyn delivered a 3-1 advantage.
Wilmington (4-9, 33-44) would not go quietly in the bottom half of the frame. CF Cody Wilson snapped an 0-for-23 stretch at the plate with a single to center and advanced into scoring position on an infield knock by 2B Viandel Peña.
RHP Dylan Tebrake entered out of the bullpen to face 3B José Sánchez and after a pair of unsuccessful bunt attempts, the Blue Rocks attempted a double steal on a 1-2 pitch. C Drake Osborn’s throw to third was perfect to retire Wilson for the first out of the frame.
The Cold Spring, Minn. native whiffed Sánchez on the next pitch for the second out and then punched out RF Jared McKenzie on four pitches to secure Brooklyn’s 3-1 win and the first save of his professional career.
The offense was minimal until the ninth. The Blue Rocks managed the only tally in the first eight frames when SS Jordy Barley walked in the third, stole second and third, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Wilson.
Neither starter received a decision. LHP Eli Ankeney tossed a career-high 2.1 innings and did not allow a hit in the first start of his professional career for the ‘Clones. RHP Rodney Theophile departed after four shutout innings for Wilmington.
RHP Robert Colina (1-2) worked three-plus innings of scoreless relief for Brooklyn, earning his first South Atlantic League victory.
RHP Todd Peterson (2-4) was charged with a blown save and the loss after permitting all three runs for the ‘Rocks in the ninth.
Brooklyn will try and extend the winning streak to six on Saturday night. RHP Joander Suárez (3-5, 7.23) is expected to take the hill for the. The Blue Rocks are projected to counter with the Nationals’ No. 15 prospect per Baseball America, RHP Andry Lara (2-6, 6.03). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.