Baker pitches gem, but Mudcats bats can't capatilze
Carolina lost despite outhitting Winston-Salem on Saturday.
ZEBULON, NC — The Carolina Mudcats failed to capitalize on a strong outing from Dylan Baker as the Winston-Salem Dash put a late run on the board to steal a 1-0 victory on Saturday night.
The defeat marks the fourth straight losing effort for the Mudcats. Carolina now stands at 32-35 during the second half and 61-73 on the year. Winston-Salem improves to 29-39 during the second half. Both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Manager Scooter Tucker was pleased with his starter’s outing but lamented on missed opportunities from his hitters.
“Obviously Dylan had a great night but we need to come up with some timely hits to score some runs,” said Tucker.
“Nobody can win when you don’t score,” he added dryly.
Carolina’s Dylan Baker (3-3, 4.05) held the Dash scoreless through seven innings but was left without any run support on his way to the loss. Baker was hit six times for just one earned run across 8.0 strong innings. The right hander surrendered just three free passes while fanning two Winston-Salem batters.
The Carolina skipper appreciated his starter’s performance in spite of the loss.
“He did a good job of battling all night and he threw strikes,” Tucker explained. “He went deep into the game and gave us a chance to win. That’s all you can ask of any starter.”
After failing to manufacture a run before the seventh inning stretch, the Dash played small ball in the top of the eighth to bring home the first run of the night. Keenyn Walker slapped a lead off single to left and was pushed into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Adam Engel. A Cleuluis Rondon ground out advanced Walker to third before Courtney Hawkins finished it off with an RBI single up the middle to score the speedy center fielder.
Carolina attempted to duplicate the Dash’s eighth inning approach but a costly ground ball halted the home team. A leadoff walk from Yhoxian Medina was followed by a sacrifice bunt from third baseman Yandy Diaz to give Carolina a scoring chance. LeVon Washington was issued a free pass which helped the Dash as Joe Sever grounded into an inning ending double play.
The Mudcats had one last chance to even the score and force extra innings in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Haase reached base on an infield single to short and a James Roberts single sent Haase, representing the tying run, to third base. With two away and runners on the corners, first baseman Ryan Battaglia stepped up to the plate with a chance to tie the game, but a ground ball to third forced the final out of the night.
Winston-Salem’s Zach Isler was credited with his third save of the year after he held the Mudcats scoreless in the bottom of the ninth despite allowing two hits.
Winston-Salem’s Brandon Brennan produced a strong start in which he held the Mudcats scoreless for 5.2 innings. Brennan gave up just six hits and one walk in addition to striking out six Carolina batters.
Brad Goldberg earned the win for the Dash as he hurled 2.1 scoreless innings in which he prevented a single Carolina hit. Goldberg issued just two walks while fanning three hitters.
The story of the night was the lack of production with runners in scoring position. Despite outhitting their opponents eight to six, the Mudcats finished the night 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base.
The Dash weren’t much better than the home team as they finished 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Winston-Salem left six runners on base on the night.
While neither team is playing for a spot in the playoffs, both teams continued to play with passion.
Scooter Tucker noted that it’s all about improving as a player, team, and organization.
“These guys are still learning and trying to get better, if things don’t work out this year, sometimes you just have to look forward and look to the next,” he said.
Carolina continues their series with the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday night at Five County Stadium. Right-hander Adam Plutko (4-9, 4.17) will take the hill for the Mudcats and Winston-Salem’s Tyler Danish (5-3, 2.73) will pitch for the away team. First pitch is set for 6:00 PM.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.