Carolina Mudcats drop Lynchburg behind two Jeremy Lucas bombs
LYNCHBURG, Va. – The Carolina Mudcats jumped out to a big early lead and cruised to a 10-3 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats Monday night.
The victory marked the end of Carolina’s season-high three-game losing streak and allowed the Mudcats to move back above .500.
Designated hitter Jeremy Lucas launched two home runs in the game for the first multi-home run game by a Mudcat since Joey Wendle did so July 18, 2013.
On the night, Carolina worked eight walks compared to allowing only three to the Hillcats.
Looking to turn his season around after a rough start, right hander Michael Peoples took the mound for the Mudcats, and pitched a strong 5.1 innings, allowing only three runs on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Peoples picked up the victory, his first of the season, to improve to 1-2.
This marked the first time Peoples went longer than three innings in a start since going six April 10.
Carolina got started early, scoring five times in the second inning. Lucas launched his first home run to lead off the inning. The next three batters, left fielder Anthony Gallas, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin and catcher Alex Monsalve reached to load the bases, still with no outs. Third baseman James Roberts made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to score Gallas.
Lynchburg also loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the inning, but only scored one run in the frame.
Neither team was able to score again until the sixth inning, when the Mudcats added two more to their four-run lead. After Gallas led off the inning with a single, Sabourin doubled to put both runners in scoring position with no outs. After a Lynchburg pitching change, Monsalve was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
A second sacrifice fly by Roberts scored Gallas for the first run of the inning, and a wild pitch allowed Sabourin to score to give Carolina a 7-1 lead.
With one on and one out, Peoples allowed a two-run home run to allow the Hillcats to climb within four.
That was it for Peoples, who was relieved by right hander Josh Martin, who got two groundouts to end the inning without allowing Lynchburg to get any closer.
Center fielder Logan Vick and shortstop Erik Gonzalez worked back-to-back walks, and accomplished a double steal to move into scoring position with two outs. A wild pitch allowed Vick to race in and score for an 8-3 lead.
With one out and one on in the top of the ninth, Lucas launched his second home run of the game to give the Mudcats a seven run lead and put the game out of reach.
Right hander Jacob Lee relieved Martin in the ninth inning. Despite allowing a one out double and allowing the runner to advance to third base, Lee pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the victory.
Carolina returns to action on Tuesday and continues the series against Lynchburg. Left hander Ryan Merritt looks to continue his strong start to the season and gets the start for Carolina.
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.