Carolina ends season on high note with 2-1 victory
Colon leads Mudcats to victory with six strong innings
MYRTLE BEACH – The 2013 baseball season came to a close on Monday night, and the Carolina Mudcats jumped out to an early lead, and hang on to defeat the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 2-1 on Monday night.
The win allowed Carolina to finish the second half of the season at .500 at 35-35 and the season overall at 57-83.
Right hand pitcher Joe Colon got the start for the Mudcats and pitched six strong innings in his final start of 2013. Colon allowed only one run on two hits and a walk while also striking out three batters. With the strong performance to close out the season, Colon picked up his fifth win of the season with Carolina to make his final record 5-3.
The Mudcats threatened in the second inning when right fielder Logan Vick singled with one out. A wild pitch allowed Vick to advance to second base, and an error allowed shortstop Erik Gonzalez to reach base safely, and Vick to advance to third base. However, Gonzalez was caught attempting to steal second base, and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin popped out to end the inning without bringing home a run.
Carolina scored the first runs of the game in the top of the third inning. Third baseman Todd Hankins walked with one out, and stole second base before left fielder Bryson Myles also walked to put two on base. Hankins and Myles pulled off a double steal to move both to scoring position. After center fielder Jordan Smith lined into the second out, second baseman Joey Wendle hit an RBI single up the middle to bring home both runners and give the Mudcats a two run lead.
The Pelicans cut into the lead in the fifth inning after the lead-off batter reached second base on a throwing error by Gonzalez. Runners were then at the corners as the next batter reached on a fielder’s choice as Carolina went after the lead runner, but missed the tag as he slid safely into the base. The next runner grounded into a double play to wipe the bases clean, but the run scored to cut the Carolina lead to one.
The Mudcats threatened in the top of the sixth inning when Vick walked with one out, and stole his first base with Carolina with two outs, and advanced to third base on a throwing error. Sabourin walked to put runners on the corners, but both runners were stranded when designated hitter Ryan Battaglia struck out to end the inning.
Colon went back out for the seventh inning, and struggled from the first pitch. A walk, hit batsman, and a single loaded the bases with no outs, and that would be it for Colon, who was relieved by right hander JD Reichenbach.
Reichenbach got the first batter to fly out and the next to pop out for two quick outs. A groundout to second base by the next batter got Carolina out of the inning, and escape the jam without giving up a run to preserve the one run lead.
After walking the lead-off man in the eighth inning and allowing the runner to advance to second on a sacrifice bunt, Reichenbach was relieved by right hander Louis Head. Back-to-back strikeouts got Head out of the inning to preserve the lead.
After the Sabourin singled to lead-off the top of the ninth, Battaglia struck out, and Hankins grounded into a double play to wipe the Mudcats off the bases for the last time in 2013.
Head was back out for the ninth inning, and after allowing a lead-off single, allowed back-to-back groundouts advanced the runner to third base with two outs. A strikeout with a runner on third base ended the Mudcats season the same way it began: with a win.
Zachary is a senior at NC State where he is majoring in communication-media, with minors in journalism and theatre. You can follow him on Twitter @RealZachFrancis.