Clutch hits give Mudcats 4-3 win
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (9-5) were able to bounce back from the beat down they received on Wednesday night to take the second game of the series from the Salem Red Sox (4-10) with a 4-3 win on Thursday night.
After starter Michael Goodnight retired the side in order in the top of the first, Right fielder Bo Greenwell stroked a solo shot over the right field wall in the bottom of the inning to give the Mudcats an early 1-0 lead.
However the Red Sox put together a two out rally in the third to retake the lead 3-1. Goodnight retired the first two batters but got into trouble as a double by right fielder Matty Johnson and then a walk to shortstop Heiker Meneses kept the inning alive for third baseman Travis Shaw. Shaw lined a single to center chasing across Johnson for the Sox first run. Menses was able to take third on the play and Shaw was also able to get himself into scoring position as the throw from center came in towards third. Left fielder Brandon Jacobs came up with a two run knock as he singled to center to bring in Meneses and Shaw.
From that point forward it was all Mudcats, as second baseman Tony Wolters hit a solo shot in the bottom of the third just inside the foul pole in right, his second homerun of the year. Then clutch two out hits in the fourth and sixth allowed the Mudcats to climb back in front for good.
In the fourth inning center fielder Carlos Moncrief reached on a wall ball single to right and after a pop out by shortstop Ronny Rodriguez, a single to right with two outs by designated hitter Anthony Gallas kept the inning alive for catcher Jake Lowery. Lowery came up with a clutch single to right to easily score Moncrief to tie the game at three. Lowery was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double to end the inning.
Gallas came up with a big two out hit of his own in the sixth as his two out double broke the tie and ended the night for Celestino. A lead off walk to first baseman Jesus Aguilar came back to bite Celestino. Aguilar moved to second on a sac bunt by Moncrief, and then after a pop out by Rodriguez he scored on Gallas’s double to right center. Ryan Pressly came in to replace Celestino and got out of the inning without further damage by striking out Lowery to end the inning.
Michael Goodnight threw five solid innings giving up only the three runs in the third.
“Goodnight was good, he had one bad inning but then he regrouped and kept us in the game,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez.
The bullpen followed Goodnight and came in and shut down the Red Sox offense. Shawn Armstrong - who ended up getting the win - was first out of the pen and threw two scoreless innings. Grant Sides contributed a scoreless eighth to set up closer Jose Flores who recorded his 12 save of the year.
On the other side Miguel Celestino struggled through five and two thirds as he gave up runs in four of the six innings he pitched in, while surrendering seven hits.
Both bullpens shut down the opposing offenses for the remainder of the game resulting in a hard fought victory by the Mudcats.
“Our offense and defense were able to bounce back from the very bad game last night. It was overall just a very good team effort tonight,” said Rodriguez.
The Mudcats and Red Sox will face off in the series deciding game Friday night at 7:15 at Five County Stadium.