Defensive miscue in ninth leads to 4-3 loss for Mudcats
MYRTLE BEACH – The first game of the final series of the 2013 season did not go the Carolina Mudcats way, falling to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 4-3 thanks to an error in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Mudcats led 3-0 after the second inning, but allowed the Pelicans to score four unanswered runs to win.
Right hander Rob Nixon gave up a lead-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning, and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third base. However, a throwing error by first baseman Jerrud Sabourin allowed the runner to race home, and score the game winning run.
Right hander Cole Cook started his final game of the 2013 season, and continued Carolina’s recent stretch of strong starting pitching performances. Cook went seven strong innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Cook also struck out four runners on the night.
Cook rebounded from two consecutive rough outings, giving up a combined 12 runs over four combined innings. The rough outings came after Cook pitched six shutout innings in his debut with Carolina after being optioned to the Mudcats from AA-Akron.
Carolina jumped out to and early two run lead in the first inning thanks to a two run home run by second baseman Joey Wendle. With one out, right fielder Jordan Smith singled before Wendle crushed his 16th home run of the season over the left field wall.
The Mudcats were able to add to their lead in the second inning thanks to back-to-back doubles by catcher Alex Lavisky and left fielder Todd Hankins with two outs added on a run.
Carolina threatened again in the third inning when Smith and designated hitter Tony Wolters both singled to put two runners on with two outs, but were stranded there as shortstop Erik Gonzalez grounded out to end the inning.
Myrtle Beach cut into the lead in the third inning when Cook allowed a one-out double, and then threw a wild pitch to advance the runner to third base. An RBI groundout scored the Pelicans first run to cut the lead to two.
The Mudcats again put two runners on base with two outs in the fifth inning as Smith and third baseman Paddy Matera walked, but were stranded there as Wolters grounded out to end the inning.
The Pelicans were able to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to a two out home run. With two outs, a single to center field put a runner on, and the next batter put a ball over the right field wall to tie the game at three.
The Mudcats threatened to score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning. Sabourin walked to lead-off the inning, but was out on as Lavisky grounded into a double play. Hankins was hit by a pitch, and proceeded to steal second and third base before center fielder Bryson Myles walked. After Myrtle Beach brought in a new pitcher, Smith struck out to end the inning and the threat, which proved to be Carolina’s final chance.
Nixon came on in relief in the eighth inning, and after pitching a solid eighth, struggled in the ninth inning, giving up the game deciding run. Nixon took the loss, dropping his record to 3-6 on the season.
Carolina continues the season ending series against Myrtle Beach on Sunday. Left hander Shawn Morimando takes the mound for the final time in 2013, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
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.