Carolina Mudcats demolish Myrtle Beach Pelicans with 10-run effort
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The Carolina Mudcats avoided a series sweep at the hands of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans with a 10-4 victory Monday behind a strong outing from starting pitcher Cole Sulser (2-5, 4.09 ERA) and an offensive explosion from shortstop Erik Gonzalez.
Sulser earned his second victory of the campaign after allowing two runs on four hits in a 6.0 inning start that saw him strikeout seven.
The right-hander fell behind early after Hanser Alberto drove in a pair of runs with a second inning triple to put the Pelicans up 2-0.
But Gonzalez and the Carolina offense came alive and quickly erased the deficit in the top of the third. After a pair of singles from LeVon Washington and Yhoxian Medina set the table, Gonzalez tied the game at 2 with his second double of the game. Jerrud Sabourin followed with a single to left that scored Gonzalez and gave the Mudcats a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Mudcats again jumped on Myrtle Beach starter Luis Parra (5-4, 4.87 ERA) in the fourth. After Luigi Rodrigueztook first on a dropped third strike, James Roberts hit his first homerun of the season to extend Carolina’s advantage to 5-2.
In the top of the fifth, the wheels began to come off for Parra and the Myrtle Beach pitching staff as the Mudcats plated three runs without getting a hit. Parra’s evening came to an end after walks to Gonzalez, Jeremy Lucas, and Rodriguez loaded the bases for Roberts.
The Pelicans turned to Sam Stafford in relief, but the lefty also struggled to find the strike zone. To begin an unusual sequence, Stafford walked in a run as James Roberts earned his third RBI of the game. Stafford followed by hittingLogan Vick and walking Washington as the Mudcats jumped to an 8-2 lead.
Some sloppy play late from Carolina allowed Myrtle Beach to reduce the Mudcats lead with a pair of unearned runs off reliever Jacob Lee. Alberto, who reached scoring position because of a Gonzalez throwing error, scored on a Zach Cone groundout in the bottom of the seventh to make it 8-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, a Washington error in left allowed Preston Beck to load the bases following a Joey Gallowalk and a single by Christopher Bostick. The Pelicans again took advantage of the Carolina error as Gallo scored on a sacrifice fly by Alberto to bring the Pelicans within four going into the ninth.
However, Gonzalez atoned for his defensive miscue with another extra-base hit. A two-out triple drove in Roberts and Medina as the Carolina lead ballooned back to six thanks to the shortstop’s third and fourth RBIs of the night.
Elvis Araujo closed the door for the Mudcats pitching a scoreless ninth inning as Carolina snapped a six-game losing streak to the league-leading Pelicans.
Carolina improves to 24-31 on the year while Myrtle Beach drops to 37-18.
The Mudcats are scheduled to return home Tuesday to begin a three-game series with the Winston-Salem Dash.
First pitch from Five County Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m.