Carolina Mudcats give up 12 hits, lose to Winston-Salem, 4-2
ZEBULON, N.C. – An early deficit proved to be too much for the Carolina Mudcats as they suffered a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Winston-Salem Dash on Tuesday night.
A late rally from the Mudcats wasn't enough to recover from the four run deficit that was created behind the stellar pitching of Winston-Salem's Tyler Danish.
Dash starter Tyler Danish (1-1) produced a gem in just his third start of the 2014 season. Danish hurled 6.0 scoreless innings and gave up only two hits while striking out eight Mudcats batters.
The Mudcat's catcher Alex Monsalve recorded the only two hits allowed by Danish. Monsalve finished the night 2-4.
Manager Scooter Tucker knew that his team ran up against a good starting pitcher, but appreciated the perseverance of his young Mudcats team.
"They pitched well and scored early and got us behind there," said Tucker. "Our guys did fight back a little and we had the tying run at the plate but we came up a little short."
When asked what you can do against that kind of pitching Tucker jokingly said, "let it hit you if it's close."
Carolina's Adam Plutko (1-1) seemed to regress in his second start in Advanced-A baseball. The right hander took the loss after he surrendered three earned runs off of eight hits, including six doubles, in 6.0 innings of play.
While it may not have been a win for Plutko, Tucker managed to stay positive when evaluating the newly acquired pitcher.
"Both starts he has given up a little early but he pitched well enough to keep us in the game and give us an opportunity late," Tucker said.
Winston-Salem came out swinging in the top of the first and put two early runs on the board. After two quick outs, the Dash used a Courtney Hawkins double and a Jason Coats walk to put runners on the corners. Keon Barnumcleared the bases with a well hit double to right to make it 2-0.
The Dash added to their lead in the top of the sixth with another string of doubles. A leadoff double from Jason Coats was followed up by a groundout from first baseman Keon Barnum which allowed Coats to advance. With the runner now on third, Winston-Salem's Joey DeMichele plated Coats with a double of his own to give the Dash a three run advantage.
When the Dash hitters made contact, they hit the ball very hard. Seven of their first nine hits came as doubles.
After a disastrous stint with triple-A Columbus, recent transfer Benny Suarez came in to start the seventh inning for the Mudcats but struggled early.
A leadoff walk for Keenyn Walker and a Tim Anderson double had Suarez in a jam early. Winston-Salem's Jacob May grounded out to second but advanced the runners and scored Walker in the process. Suarez recorded consecutive outs to keep Anderson at third and the damage to a minimum.
Tucker acknowledged that Suarez seemed to be out of sorts when he faced the first couple of batters.
"I think that he needed to get back on the mound and get a rhythm and get comfortable again," Tucker noted. "It looked like he was falling off a little bit with the first couple of batters but then he got his direction squared away and threw the ball much better."
The Carolina bullpen combined to allow one earned run off of four hits while fanning three batters. Despite the early the run allowed by Suarez, the bullpen pitched well and kept Carolina in the game.
The Mudcats began their come back in the bottom half of the inning after starter Tyler Danish was replaced by Kyle Hansen. Anthony Gallas doubled off the wall in center and gave Carolina their first runner in scoring position. Todd Hankins took advantage with an RBI single to left to score Gallas and close the gap to three runs.
Later in the inning, Hankins managed to reach third off a stolen base and an infield single from Luigi Rodriguez. But Carolina failed to capitalize on the scoring opportunity, leaving Hankins stranded after a Logan Vick strikeout ended the inning.
Carolina continued their rally in the following inning thanks to another big hit from Anthony Gallas. Yhoxian Medinabegan the inning with a single and was moved to second on an Erik Gonzalez ground out. Gallas followed it up with a line drive up the middle to give the speedy third baseman time to score from second and make it 4-2.
A two out error from Winston-Salem's shortstop allowed Luigi Rodriguez to reach first and bring tying run to the plate, but another Logan Vick strikeout ended the game and the hopes of a Mudcats comeback.
With the loss, the Mudcats fall to 24-32 and are now just a half-game ahead of the Dash for third place in the Carolina league Southern division.
While he never appears satisfied with anything less than victory, Tucker remained optimistic and is already thinking about the next game.
"You just have days like that where you just have to battle," Tucker said. "But we get to see them again."
The Mudcats are set to continue their series with the Winston-Salem Dash on Wednesday night at Five County Stadium.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.