Carolina Mudcats fall to Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 4-1, on Memorial Day
ZEBULON, N.C. – The Carolina Mudcats couldn't stay with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans as they fell, 4-1, in a pitching duel Monday afternoon.
A lack of offensive production doomed the Mudcats on their way to their third defeat in three days.
Myrtle Beach improved to 32-17 on the year while Carolina dropped to 22-26 and nine and a half games behind first.
On a beautiful Memorial Day at Five County Stadium Manager Scooter Tucker said he appreciated his ball club's effort but knew they needed to cash in on scoring chances.
"We played pretty well but they pitched a nice game and we struggled to get something offensively," Tucker said. "We had some opportunities, had some runners on, but couldn't seem to get a hit."
Michael Peoples (2-5) took the loss after he produced a quality start for the Mudcats. Despite a rocky first inning, Peoples threw 6.0 innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits. He managed to strike out seven Pelicans batters while only giving up one walk during his outing.
Tucker saw his starter take the fight to a Myrtle Beach team full of firepower and was pleased with the start.
"I saw him battle through a tough first inning and he got better as the day went on," he said.
While acknowledging the importance of Memorial Day and our veterans, Tucker speculated that the rough first inning could have been attributed to extended festivities before the game.
"We're creatures of habit and what we did today was necessary and the right thing to do, but he potentially could have lost some focus because it's a little different," Tucker said.
Clayton Cook hurled 3.0 innings of relief for the Mudcats, but he allowed two earned runs off three hits and a walk.
Myrtle Beach starter Andrew Faulkner (3-0) tossed 5.1 innings in which he allowed only one earned run off four hits and four walks and he picked up the win.
Will Lamb earned the save for the Pelicans after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
The majority of the game's scoring came in the first inning for both teams.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans jumped all over Peoples and the Carolina defense in the top of the first. Chris Garcia opened things up by reaching second base on a single and a balk call on Peoples. Christopher Bostick took advantage of the balk by scoring Garcia on an RBI single to center. Joey Gallo then scored Bostick with a double to the corner in right field to make it 2-0 before an out was even recorded. A fly out and a turned double play allowed Carolina to stop the bleeding and end the inning.
In the bottom half of the first, the Mudcats used a timely hit from Anthony Gallas to cut the two run lead in half. With two outs and Todd Hankins on first after a single, Gallas blasted a double off the wall in deep center to plate a run. A throwing error on the center fielder allowed Gallas to move to third base but a fly out from Alex Monsalve rendered the mistake meaningless.
For the rest of the day both teams struggled to produce runs against the pitching of Peoples and Faulkner.
But the Pelicans narrowly missed a chance to extend their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Chris Grayson doubled to right and was advanced to third on a ground out from Hanser Alberto. Peoples fanned David Lyon with an off speed pitch to keep Grayson from scoring.
Carolina loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth but failed to capitalize on the scoring opportunity as well. James Roberts took a walk and Torsten Boss singled before Yhoxian Medina was walked to put pressure on the Pelicans. Dangerous hitter Todd Hankins sent a flare fly ball that was easily caught by second baseman Christopher Bostick to pull Myrtle Beach out of the jam.
The following inning contained more of the same for the home team Mudcats. Carolina put runners at third and second after two walks and a ground out from Jerrud Sabourin. Luigi Rodriguez had the chance to tie or take the lead but a ground out to first accomplished neither for Carolina.
Myrtle Beach added to their lead in the top of the seventh after Clayton Cook replaced Michael Peoples. Hanser Alberto tripled on a fly ball down the right field line and was scored on a wild pitch during the following at-bat.
A Christopher Bostick solo home run over the wall in left center made it a 4-1 ballgame in the top of the eighth.
The Mudcats attempted to rally in the top of the eighth and ninth but couldn't seem to find a way to score runs.
Leadoff man Todd Hankins made it to second in the bottom of the eighth but three consecutive outs left the Mudcats trailing and the runner stranded.
Back to back walks in the ninth gave Carolina some life but a pop up and a strikeout ended the game.
The Mudcats are scheduled to be back in action on Tuesday as they take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Carolina aceRyan Merritt (6-1) is set to start for the Mudcats and is set to face Daniel Stumpf (1-7).
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.