Huge seventh inning propels Mudcats to win
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (13-11) exploded late to even the series at one as they beat the Winston Salem Dash (13-11) 7-6 on Tuesday.
The game looked as though it was going to be a pitchers duel as it was 1-1 after six innings, but both offenses put rallies together in the seventh inning. The Dash tacked on three runs in the inning against Mudcat starter Michael Goodnight to take a 4-1 lead; however, the Mudcats wouldn’t be behind for too long as they bounced right back to put up six runs of their own in the seventh to take the lead for good.
Goodnight pitched solid after giving up a run in the first and cruised through the next five innings until he ran into some trouble in the seventh. His line of four runs in six and two third innings do not accurately depict how well he pitched.
“Goodnight was very good," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We won because of him, he pitched one hell of a game. He was unlucky in [the seventh] but otherwise he was great. He was attacking the hitters, his breaking ball was working and he was locating his fastball. It was a good outing."
On the other side Dash starter Bryan Walters turned in one of his better outings of the year as he only allowed one run in six innings as the Mudcats had a hard time figuring him out at the plate.
One batter who did not have trouble figuring any pitcher out was second baseman Tony Wolters who had a season high four hits as he finished the night 4-for-5.
“He's been swinging very, very good lately. The only out he had tonight was the hardest ball he hit,” Rodriguez said.
The first run of the game came as a result of Goodnight hitting second baseman Marcus Semien with a pitch to lead off the game. Compounding the hit lead off batter, Goodnight balked allowing Semien to move to second. Semien then came in on a single to right by first baseman Dan Black to give the Dash the early 1-0 lead in the first.
The Mudcats finally got on the board in the fifth as they pushed across a run off Walters to tie the game. Back to back one out hits by left fielder Anthony Gallas and desingated hitter Tyler Cannon put runners on the corners for catcher Alex Monsalve. Monsalve came through as he drove a fly ball deep enough to center for Gallas to tag and come in to score and tying the game at 1-1.
The Dash broke up the tie in the seventh as they chased Goodnight from the game as they pushed across three runs in the inning to take a 4-1 lead. The first three men reached in the inning and with the assistance of an errant throw by Monsalve that sailed into center the Dash pushed across their first two runs of the inning.
After two fly outs resulting in the first two outs of the inning, right fielder Michael Earley, who reached on a single earlier in the inning, stole second with catcher Miguel Gonzalez batting. Gonzalez hit a little dribbler out in front of the plate that both Goodnight and Monsalve converged on, but when Monsalve finally came up with the ball his throw was late to first as Gonzalez reached. However on the play Earley, seeing that no one was covering home as Goodnight and Monsalve both were focused on the play at first, was able to come around from second to score the Dash’s third run of the inning. This would result in the end of the night for Goodnight as the Mudcats turned to Rob Nixon to end the inning.
The Mudcats rallied off the Dash bullpen as they quickly erased the deficit and took a lead of their own. Terance Marin - who came in for Walters in the seventh - proved ineffective as he failed to retire any of the six batters he faced in the inning. Marin came into the game with a sub 1.50 ERA, but saw his ERA rise to over two after he gave up six runs, three earned while recorded no outs in the inning.
The first six batters for the Mudcats reached in the inning and with the help of an errant throw by third baseman Juan Silverio and a missed tag by Gonzalez at home the Mudcats exploded for six runs to take a 7-4 lead. JR Ballinger came in for Marin with two runners on and allowed one of those two score as he worked out of the inning. The Mudcats had six hits in the inning only one of which was a an extra base hit, a lead off double by shortstop Ronny Rodriguez.
Nixon allowed the first two runners in the inning to reach and this eventually cost the Mudcats as they eventually came in to score. Following the two singles to lead off the inning the Mudcats brought in Cole Cook to try to get out of the jam. It looked like he would be able to do just that as he induced back to back infield pop outs to keep the runners on first and second. However back to back two out singles by left fielder Cyle Hankerd and Earley would result in two runs for the Dash as they cut the deficit to one at 7-6.
However, the Dash fell short in their comeback attempt as Jose Flores had no trouble in the ninth shutting down the game for his 16th save of the year.
“We have a young team, they have to learn to play these types of games. Sixty percent of games you play in professional baseball you are going to win or lose by one or two runs. So you have to feel comfortable playing those games, its a matter of playing and learning and they did a good job tonight of pulling this one out” said Rodriguez.
The Mudcats and Dash have a quick turn around to their next game as they face off at noon Wednesday at Five County Stadium.