House throws a gen in Mudcats 6-0 win
ZEBULON - The Mudcats opened a three game set with a 6-0 win against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Monday night.
Lefty T.J. House took the mound for his first start for the Mudcats and was up against Greg Billo for the Blue Rocks. House would turn in the best starting pitching performance for the Mudcats in the early going of the season as he went seven scoreless innings only giving up two hits and had nine strikeouts. In five of the seven innings he pitched he faced the minimum.
Right-hander Cody Allen came in to replace House in the eight inning and pitched two scoreless innings to close out the game. The two combined for the first shutout by Mudcats pitching this season. After the game Mudcats pitching coach Scott Erickson praised House’s performance saying it “was outstanding”.
"He had great control of his fastball and really worked the inside half of the plate and kept his breaking pitches down," Erickson said.
Even though House had an excellent game he was tested early on.
House was able to make quick work of the first two batters he faced in the first inning as he induced a weak ground ball back to the mound and a pop out to second. However, after the first two outs were recorded he gave up a walk and a single giving the Blue Rocks the first scoring opportunity of the game. He was able to bounce back and strike out left fielder Ramon Hernandez to end the inning and what amounted to be the only threat of the night for the Blue Rocks.
Following the Blue Rocks threat in the top of the first, The Mudcats were able to capitalize on their first scoring chance. Center fielder Tyler Holt continued his early season hot streak as he drove a line drive to left center for his second triple in as many days to lead off the game. Following the triple shortstop Tony Wolters was able to pull a ball to second allowing Holt to trot home to give the Mudcats the early 1-0 lead.
The Mudcats kept the offense rolling in the second as Jake Lowry was able to build on his previous game on Sunday, when he had a homer and three RBI, by leading off the inning with a single. Right fielder Anthony Gallas followed Lowry's single with a sharp hit groundball which ate up Blue Rocks third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert who then compounded the mistake by making an errant throw to first, which ended up in the Blue Rocks bullpen, leading to both runners gaining an extra base.
The Blue Rocks would pay for the mistake as catcher Dwight Childs, in only his second at bat of the year, followed the error with a long home run to left field giving the Mudcats an early 4-0 lead that they would not relinquish.
In the sixth inning Cole White came in to relieve Billo and was rudely welcomed to the game by the Mudcats as they quickly loaded the bases with no outs. After Childs grounded into a fielders choice resulting in an out at home, Holt worked a walk from White forcing in the fifth run of the game. With the bases still loaded Wolters then drove in his second run of the game with a ground ball to the second baseman whose only play was to get Wolters at first leading to a 6-0 Mudcats lead.
Even though the Mudcats were able to put up a very respectable six runs in the game they had opportunities to blow the game wide open. The Mudcats failed in both the fourth and fifth innings to get a man home from third with less than two outs.
Gallas led off the fourth inning with a triple which hit midway up the wall under the 365 mark; however, he was then stranded at third as second baseman Ronny Rodriguez struck out and both Childs and Holt grounded out to end the inning.
In the fifth inning the Mudcats had a first and third situation with one out, but left fielder Jeremie Tice grounded into a double play ending the inning. Tice was the only Mudcat to not record a hit in the game.
Top prospect Wolters switched infield spots with Rodriguez for the first time this year giving him his first start of the season at shortstop. This may have sparked Wolters who struggled in the opening series going 1-for-13 as he was able to bat in the first run of the game in the first inning and then was able to smoke a ball to left center for a double in the second inning. He ended up going 1-for-4; however, was able to drive in two runs on the night helping the Mudcats to their 6-0 win.
The Mudcats ended up pounding out ten hits off Blue Rock pitching and five of them were for extra bases. They hit two doubles, two triples and a home run, and ran their four game total to a total of 18 extra base hits on the year.
The Mudcats play the Blue Rocks again on Tuesday night at 7:15 for the second game of the three game series.