Hankins, Mudcats destroy Keys, 12-2
Carolina recorded a season-high 17 hits in Saturday's blowout win.
ZEBULON, NC - The Carolina Mudcats and Shawn Morimando had everything working on their way to a 12-2 demolition of the Frederick Keys at Five County Stadium.
Manager Scooter Tucker was pleased with his Mudcats squad that was clicking on all cylinders.
"All facets of the game were good tonight," said Tucker. "We got good starting pitching, guys hit the ball well and played good defense."
"We had some big hits and some situational hitting," Tucker went on to say.
Starter Shawn Morimando (7-2, 3.12) earned the win after pitching 6.0 innings in which he allowed only two earned runs off of six hits.
Tucker has high expectations for Morimando and, on a night when the southpaw pitched well, he was left wanting more.
"Morimando did a good job, he wasn't as sharp as he was all year, but he grinded through and did a good job," Tucker noted.
The Mudcats started the game off with a bang in the bottom of the first inning. After a leadoff single to right from LeVon Washington, centerfielder Todd Hankins blasted a two run shot over the wall in left to make it 2-0.
Yandy Diaz followed it up with a double off the wall but consecutive outs ended the inning and left the third baseman stranded in scoring position.
The bottom half of the order got in on the action in the second inning. Yhoxian Medina doubled to left and LeVon Washington moved him to third with his second single of the night to give Carolina another scoring chance. With runners on the corners, Todd Hankins grounded into a force out at second that brought Medina in to score.
A scoreless third inning set the stage for a five run explosion in the fourth. Luigi Rodriguez opened things up with a solo shot off the scoreboard in left, his fourth of the year. The Mudcats loaded the bases later in the inning and a fielding error on an Erik Gonzalez ground ball allowed Yhoxian Medina to score his second run of the night.
With the bases still loaded, Brady Wager walked Yandy Diaz to force in another run which brought his night to an end.
Lex Rutledge replaced the Frederick starter but couldn't stop the bleeding as Joe Sever singled up the middle to score two more. Jerrud Sabourin plated one more run after grounding out into a force out at second.
Rutledge finally ended the inning by fanning Luigi Rodriguez which left two stranded on base. But the damage was done and after just four short innings, Carolina held an 8-0 advantage.
Brady Wager (2-6, 5.95) shouldered the loss on Saturday night after giving up six earned runs off of seven hits in just 3.1 innings of play.
The Mudcats continued to pour it on as they added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth despite recording two quick outs. After an Alex Monsalve fly out and a Yhoxian Medina ground out, LeVon Washington doubled to left and was scored by a Todd Hankins single. Erik Gonzalez matched Washington with a double of his own that brought Hankins around to score for the second run of the inning.
The Keys finally caught up to Morimando in the top of the sixth inning. Mike Yastrzemski singled to right and scored Frederick's first run on a Trey Mancini single to center. Michael Burgess doubled over the head of Hankins in center to move Mancini to third and a sac fly from Jason Esposito brought him in to cut the lead to 10-2.
But Carolina would get both runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Jerrud Sabourin singled to center and was scored by Luigi Rodriguez's double to left. Rodriguez would go on to score after Yhoxian Medina belted a sac fly to deep right to make it 12-2.
Clayton Cook came in to relieve Morimando in the top of the seventh and pitched well. Cook was credited with a save on after tossing 3.0 scoreless innings. The Keys managed only one hit against the right-hander.
Cook struggled slightly in the seventh but recovered to secure the win for the Mudcats. Tucker attributed the inning to his time away from the mound.
"I thought he did alright but he had been off seven days," said Tucker. "His first inning was a little bit rusty but he kind of worked himself into it and he did a better job in the end."
The win brings the Mudcats to 2-1, 31-39 on the year and the loss drops the Keys to 1-2, 33-37.
The Mudcats will return to action on Sunday as they take on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Ryan Merritt (6-2, 1.66) is set to start for the Mudcats.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.