Carolina Mudcats top Manny Machado and the Keys, 4-2
FREDERICK, Md. – In a game when Carolina couldn’t seem to find its swing, the Mudcats made their way to a 4-2 victory against the Frederick Keys on Saturday behind a stellar pitching performance from starter Shawn Morimando.
Morimando (3-0), whose start was pushed back due to rain in Wilmington the day before, produced his best outing of the season. The lefty went 6.2 innings and allowed zero earned runs on only two hits and one walk. Morimando didn’t even allow a single base runner until the fourth inning and now has an ERA of 1.88 for the season.
The Keys’ Matt Taylor (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season despite a strong start. In 6.0 innings of play, Taylor surrendered just four hits to Mudcat batters but walked five in the process. Two runs scored while Taylor was on the mound but both came unearned.
The Keys pitchers held strong even under pressure when Carolina base runners were threatening to score. Carolina went 0-13 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base.
After four scoreless innings from both teams, the Mudcats finally broke the tie in the fifth inning.
Catcher Charlie Valerio opened things up with a ground ball single up the middle and leadoff man, Luigi Rodriguez, advanced him to second after being walked. Understanding that runs may be hard to come by, Carolina and Logan Vick opted to play small ball and attempted to lay down a bunt. Frederick’s Matt Taylor misplayed the ball and was charged with an error that allowed the Mudcats to load the bases. Jeremy Lucas hit a ground ball to short that resulted in a force out at second but gave Valerio enough time to score.
With runners now on the corners, Anthony Gallas sent a ball screaming down the left-field line. Keys third baseman,Manny Machado, on a rehab assignment, made a great stop but was credited with an error on the throw that allowed Gallas to reach base and Luigi Rodriguez to score another run.
The two costly errors had given Carolina a 2-0 advantage in a game with little offensive firepower.
Frederick found an answer in the bottom of the sixth inning after keeping the Mudcat’s from extending their lead.Lucas Herbst managed to reach base after Carolina’s only error of the game and Jerome Pena followed it up with a single to left that advanced the lead runner to third. Morimando got Glynn Davis to ground into a double play but Herbst scored easily from third making it a tighter game at 2-1.
Carolina countered with two more runs in the seventh inning to put some distance between them and the determined Frederick Keys. Luigi Rodriguez singled up the middle and was given second base after relief pitcher Mychal Givenswas called for a balk. After a Logan Vick walk put runners at first and second, Erik Gonzalez laid down a bunt to advance both runners into scoring position. Lucas was walked to load the bases and Gallas reached base on another throwing error from the Keys. Rodriguez and Vick both passed over home plate during the play to increase the Mudcats lead to three runs.
Frederick attempted to stage a comeback in the eighth but Carolina’s bullpen kept the damage to a minimum. Lucas Herbst double to left to open the inning and give the Keys some life. Jerome Pena grounded out to first but gave the speedy Herbst time to make it to third. A Glynn Davis ground out brought Herbst around to score and close the gap to just two runs. Relief pitcher Jacob Lee got Carolina out of the inning by forcing Machado into a ground out to shortstop Erik Gonzalez.
Carolina’s bullpen pitched for 2.1 innings and allowed only one run on two hits. Louis Head earned the save after pitching a scoreless ninth inning.
The Baltimore Orioles star third baseman, Machado, went 1-4 in his second rehab game with his only hit coming on a single to center.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.