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Carolina walks off with 3-2 win over Keys

Carolina walks off with 3-2 win over Keys
June 24, 2013
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ZEBULON – A nail bitter until the end, the Carolina Mudcats were walk-off winners as they defeated the Frederick Keys 3-2 on Monday night.  The win was the first for the team in the second half, bringing the Mudcats record to 1-3 in the second half and 23-51 overall.

With the score tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, designated hitter Bo Greenwell singled and stole second base, and left fielder Luigi Rodriguez hit a walk-off RBI double to bring home the winning run. 

Rodriguez was so excited about the win.  “I feel great.  Since we’ve been losing and losing, it feels great to win” said Rodriguez.  “We kept focus and finally did it.  Getting the hit gives me a lot of confidence, but tomorrow is another day, so we have to keep working hard to carry over the momentum.”

Mudcats manager was so happy for the team. “I’m just really happy for these guys.  They’ve worked really hard.  It seems like a lot of things have gone against us and it was nice to see something like this finally go our way” said Wallace.

Starting pitcher Cody Anderson came out firing on all cylinders, striking out five of the first eight batters.  After breezing through the first three innings, a rough fourth inning was enough to chase Anderson from the game.  Anderson’s final line was four innings pitched, two hits and no runs scored.  Anderson walked two and struck out six batters.  Most of Anderson’s damage was done in the fourth inning.

Wallace was very happy with how Anderson pitched. 

“I think he pitched great” said Wallace.  “He was aggressive and executing.  When he got in trouble in the fourth, he kept his composure and trusted his stuff.

Anderson was also very happy with his performance.  “It was kind of a normal start for me” said Anderson.  “I didn’t get very deep in the game, but I think I pitched really well.”

Wallace said Anderson’s innings will be limited the rest of the way.  “We’re just limiting his innings for the rest of the year.  He’s going to have the opportunity to five or six innings, but we’re looking at the big picture” Wallace said.

The offense had a hard time getting going, as the first eight batters failed to reach base.  Third baseman Paddy Matera crushed a double into left field for the first hit of the game in the third inning, but center fielder Tyler Naquin grounded out to end the inning.

Anderson ran into trouble in the fourth inning.  A walk and a double put runners on second and third with one out.  A fly ball to shallow center field made the second out, and another walk loaded the bases, but a fly ball to left field ended the inning without giving up a run. 

Second baseman Joey Wendle laced a double to left-center with one out in the fourth inning, and advanced to third base on a deep sacrifice fly to right field.  However, Wendle would not score, as right fielder Jordan Smith grounded out to end the inning. 

Right hander Francisco Valera replaced Anderson in the fifth inning who pitched a perfect inning to begin his outing. 

The offense continued to struggle in the fifth inning as Keys starting pitcher Zach Davies struck out the side.

Valera began to struggle in the sixth inning.  With one out, a walk and a wild pitch put a runner on second base.  Valera walked a second batter with two outs, and a double steal put runners in scoring position.  A third walk in the inning loaded the bases.  Valera was able to escape the jam on a pop up to end the inning. 

With two outs in the sixth inning, shortstop Francisco Lindor walked as just the third Mudcats player to reach base, but Wendle grounded out to end the inning. 

Valera settled back into a groove in the seventh inning, as he retired the side in order. 

First baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled to lead off the seventh inning, but Smith grounded into a double play to wipe the bases clean.

Left hander JD Reichenbach replaced Valera in the eighth inning.  Valera’s final line was three innings pitched and no hits allowed.  Valera walked three and struck out three.

Wallace was most impressed with Valera’s performance.  “If you’re going to give player of the game to someone, it might be Valera” said Wallace.  “It was just a great performance from our bullpen overall tonight.”

The shutout was broken up in the eighth inning on a two-run home run that was crushed over the scoreboard in right field. 

While not happy with the home run being given up, Wallace was not concerned.

“I knew with our offense that was well within our striking distance” said Wallace.  I knew we had the guys coming up that would be able to take that back.”

Catcher Alex Lavisky got the rally going in the bottom of the eighth inning on a single with one out.  Matera singled up the middle to put two on.  Naquin walked to load the bases.  Pinch runner Zack MacPhee was brought in in place of Matera at second base.  Lindor hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the first run of the game for Carolina.  Wendle ripped an RBI double down the right field line to tie the game. 

With one out in the ninth inning, Reichenbach allowed a single, but induced an inning ending double play to bring up the Mudcats for the winning rally.

Carolina continues the series against Frederick on Tuesday night.  First pitch is scheduled for 7:15.

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.

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