The Frederick Keys appeared to have gotten a huge break when Kris Wilson, the Carolina League's top pitcher and Wilmington's probable starter tonight, was promoted to Class AAA Omaha on Wednesday.
Unfortunately for the Keys, first baseman Dave Willis didn't go with him.
Willis went 3 for 4 with two home runs, including a ninth-inning grand slam, and seven RBI, to lead the Blue Rocks to a 12-7 victory in a Class A game before 6,429 at Harry Grove Stadium.
The win was Wilmington's seventh straight; Frederick's win streak ended at two.
Without Wilson -- 8-1 at the time of his departure, including 7-0 with a 0.80 earned run average in May -- Wilmington relied on its big bats. Joe Caruso and Brandon Berger also homered, the latter being the first allowed in 34 innings by reliever Ken Sims.
Frederick took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, fueled by Luis Matos's two-run homer off starter Justin Pederson.
Wilmington took the lead in the fourth, taking advantage of consecutive errors by shortstop Craig Daedelow and right fielder Darnell McDonald. The Blue Rocks led 8-6 before Willis's grand slam off reliever Kasey Richardson.
BAYSOX 2, THUNDER 1: Left-handed pitcher Matt Riley, the Orioles' 1997 third-round draft pick, improved to 2-0 with a complete-game four-hitter as Bowie (31-21) beat Northern Division-leading Trenton (36-15) before 6,614 at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J.