BlueClaws Win Behind Rios Pitching Gem
The month of July couldn’t have started any better for the Lakewood BlueClaws. Lakewood gave their fans something to cheer about on Tuesday night when the BlueClaws defeated the Hagerstown Suns 2-1 in the first game of their three game series.
The BlueClaws won behind a great performance by their starting pitcher, Yacksel Rios, whose pitching performance was just a hit shy of perfection. Rios pitched a gem, pitching a no hitter going into the eighth inning. Rios on the game said “I feel really good. I was able to go out there and do my job. I was able to locate my pitches all night and throw strikes.”
From the start of the game it didn’t look like Rios would flirt with a no hitter. Rios hit a Hagerstown batter on his first pitch of the game and was a little erratic walking a batter . This allowed the Suns to grab an early lead with a double steal. Rios would settle down after the first inning and go on to retire 20 batters in a row and pitch eight great innings. On flirting with the no hitter, Rios said “I really wasn’t thinking about it. I was just trying to go out there and do my job.”
Rios’ pitching was a pleasant surprise to the BlueClaws since he has only been a starting pitcher for the past couple of weeks. Rios was a reliever early on in the season and his longest outing as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues was only five and two-thirds innings.
Rios’ no hit bid was broken up in the eighth inning when Hagerstown got a hit with two outs but losing the no hit bid was not a disappointment to Rios. Rios on losing the no hit bid said “It didn’t really affect me. I was just mad for a second and just focused on finishing out the inning..”
With Rios’ great outing, the BlueClaws offense was able to do their part at the plate to get Lakewood the win. Designated hitter Andrew Pullen tied the game in the third inning with a RBI single. Right fielder Dylan Cozens hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to give the BlueClaws a 2-1 lead and that ended up being the deciding factor in the game. Cozens on the big home run said “It always feels good to hit a home run. You never know if a run in the sixth inning would decide the game. Feels good to help the team win.”
It was also a big night for Lakewood reliever Matt Hockenberry who picked up his first professional save. On getting his first career save Hockenberry said “I did my job. This was actually my first save ever in my life and it was pretty cool to get that. I’m just happy I did my job and helped the team get the win.” Hockenberry was the Philadelphia Phillies’ ninth round pick in this years draft out of Temple University.
With the win the BlueClaws improve to 4-9 in the second half of the season. They are also on a three game winning streak.
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