Carolina Mudcats lose to Lynchburg Hillcats, 5-3
ZEBULON, N.C. – The Carolina Mudcats fell 5-3 to the Lynchburg Hillcats on Wednesday night after they failed to capitalize on RBI opportunities.
The Mudcats finished the game two for 14 with runners in scoring position and left ten runners on base. Manager Scooter Tucker knew that his team was just a hit or two away from turning the game around in their favor and was dissapointed with the lack of timely production.
"We failed to get a big hit when we needed to tonight," Tucker said. "We just didn't get it today and that's just how this game works sometimes."
The Mudcats attempted to stage a comeback in the bottom of the eighth after falling behind 5-3.
Anthony Gallas sent a liner down the right field line and was called safe at second after the second baseman fumbled the ball on the tag. Gallas then advanced to third despite being caught in a run down on a Jerrud Sabourin ground ball. With a chance to even the score, the Mudcats tallied two consecutive outs that left the runners stranded and kept the score at 5-3.
Carolina missed another opportunity to rally in the bottom of the ninth after putting runners on the corners. Jeremy Lucas struck out swinging to end the game and dash the hopes of the Mudcat faithful.
"The bottom line to it is that we had several opportunities to knock some runs in and we didn't," Tucker said.
The Mudcat's D.J. Brown (2-3) took the loss after hurling 93 pitches in 6.2 innings of play. The right hander allowed four earned runs off eleven hits while striking out two. Tucker said he was pleased with his starting pitcher's performance and felt that he kept the game within reach for the Mudcats bats.
"I thought D.J. Brown pitched a really good game," Tucker said. "He may not have had his best stuff but he went 6.2 innings and we needed it."
Lynchburg came out with avengance in the first inning after getting blown out on Tuesday.
The Mudcats missed an early chance to level the game in the bottom half of the inning.
With two outs and runners at third and second, the streaking Anthony Gallas had a chance to score a couple of runs. A big cut on a 2-2 fast ball came up empty and ended the inning for the Mudcats, leaving two stranded.
The Hillcats added another run in the top of the third with two more doubles. Jose Peraza doubled to left and advanced to third on a Kyle Wren groundout to set up the scoring opportunity. David Nick took advantage with a double to the gap in left center to score Peraza from third.
Brown finally got some run support in the bottom of the third.
Leadoff man Todd Hankins homered to left for the second time in two games to put the Mudcats on the board. Logan Vick followed it up with a triple that bounced off the wall in center and scored on an Erik Gonzalez ground out to cut the deficit to one run.
Carolina evened things up in the bottom of the fifth with a big hit from Jeremy Lucas. After Gonzalez doubled to right, Lucas crushed a ball to the gap in left center for a standing triple. It was his team-leading 25th RBI of the season.
Lynchburg found an answer in the top of the sixth to regain the lead.
Will Skinner singled to left before he advanced to second on a ground ball from Levi Hyams. With two outs, Edison Sanchez ripped an RBI single to left that scored Skinner to give Lynchburg a 4-3 lead.
A costly error from second baseman Torsten Boss allowed another Hillcats runner to score in the top of the seventh.
After two consecutive singles put runners on the corners, Ahrens chopped a ground ball to second where Boss fumbled the ball and threw late to second. The error allowed a run to score from third and stretch the Lynchburg lead to two runs.
Tucker said he was disappointed with the untimely error but knew that they are part of the minor league game.
"Errors don't always kill you but its when you make them," said Tucker. "Obviously we don't want to give the team extra base runners but it's just part of the game."
Right fielder Luigi Rodriguez had fans on their feet in the top of the eighth with a diving catch on a shallow fly ball from Levi Hyams.
Lynchburg's Greg Ross (3-1) went 6.0 innings and allowed three earned runs off eight hits in route to his third win of the season.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.