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Indians pound Mudcats, 13-0

Indians pound Mudcats, 13-0
April 4, 2012
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Zebulon, NC - In an exhibition game between the Carolina Mudcats and the Cleveland Indians yesterday at Five County Stadium, the visiting Indians put on a show for the fans as they blanked the Mudcats 13-0.

A rare sight and only acceptable in an exhibition game, Scott Barnes got the start for the Mudcats while appearing on the pitching mound in a Cleveland Indians uniform.  In the first inning, Barnes was able to quickly strike out Michael Brantley, but the next batter he faced, Asdrubal Cabrera, jumped on the first pitch and gave the Indians an early 1-0 lead.  Shin-Soo Choo drew a walk from Barnes and quickly stole second base.  Following a wild pitch, Choo raced over to third and beat the throw from Mudcats’ catcher Jake Lowery. 

The Indians’ designated hitter, Travis Hafner, hit a high fly ball to deep left field where Delvi Cid was unable to make the out when he lost the ball in the high afternoon sun.  Choo easily scored from third giving the Indians a 2-0 lead. 

On the mound for the Indians was Derek Lowe, a former 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series Champion.  Before bringing his services to the Indians as a free agent for the 2012 season, Lowe pitched for the Atlanta Braves for three seasons between 2009 and 2011.  Lowe began his professional baseball career with the Seattle Mariners in 1997.  Retiring the first seven batters he faced, Lowe also recorded three strikeouts before giving up a hit up the middle to Ronny Rodriguez for Carolina’s first hit of the game.  

Indians’  outfielder Shelley Duncan led off the third inning by exploding on a pitch from Barnes for a one run shot to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead.  Following a walk to Jason Kipnis, Jack Hannahan hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball to deep left-center field.  Two Mudcats’ players converged on the ball to make the play, but neither one was able to come away with the out.  Kipnis advanced to third while Hannahan easily made it to second base.  Cleveland added another run in the fourth to make the score 4-0.  Barnes got out of the inning by striking out Asdrubal Cabrera. 

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Mudcats’ third baseman Giovanny Urshela managed a double off a long fly ball to deep center.  However, his teammates left him stranded and the Indians maintained a 4-0 lead entering the fifth inning. 

Indians’ infielder Jose Lopez lead off the top of the 7th inning with a double to shallow right field.  Consecutive walks by Mudcats’ pitcher Giovannni Soto to Aaron Cunningham and Gregorio Petit loaded the bases, and then a sacrifice fly to deep left field by Chad Huffman scored Lopez from third.  Soto was unable to find the strike zone against Lou Marson who drew a walk and loaded the bases again.  Jason Donald came to the plate and on a 3-2 count lined a two run single to left field.

With the score now 7-0, Mudcats’ manager Edwin Rodriguez relieved Soto and brought in J.D. Reichenbach in relief.  Reichenbach didn’t fare much better than Soto as he walked two consecutive batters forcing home another run for the Indians.  After the Mudcats were able to record the third out of the inning, Mudcats’ pitchers Soto and Reichenbach combined for five walks and four runs to give the Indians an 8-0 lead. 

With two outs in the top of the 8th inning, Jason Donald crushed a three run shot to left field to extend Cleveland’s lead to 11-0.  The top of the ninth was more of the same story for Carolina’s pitching.  The bases were loaded several times and two singles by Gregorio Petit and Lou Marson drove in two more runs for the Indians.  With the score now an untouchable 13-0, the Mudcats came up to bat for the final time in the game.

Finally able to draws a couple of walks from Cleveland’s bullpen, Carolina failed to advance the runners and the game was over.

Mudcats’ pitchers combined for 13 total walks compared to only two walks surrendered by Cleveland.  The Mudcats were never able to advance a runner past second base giving Carolina’s manager Edwin Rodriguez plenty to discuss with his players before their opening night match-up against the Winston-Salem Dash on Friday, April 6th, 2012. 

Despite the loss to the Indians, the Carolina Mudcats 2012 season promises several new and exciting changes to the long history of professional baseball in Zebulon, North Carolina.  Earlier this year, the Mudcats entered into a two-year player development contract with the Cleveland Indians.  The merger with the Indians not only brings a new affiliation with a professional ball club, it also moves the Mudcats from the Double-A Southern League to the High-A Carolina League. 

Edwin Rodriguez, the new manager of the Mudcats, joins the team following two seasons of managing the Florida Marlins where he compiled a 78-85 record.  A 32 year veteran as a baseball player and coach, Rodriguez will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the dugout.  Rodriguez continues his baseball career with the Mudcats where he was the hitting coach in 2004. 

The exhibition game against Carolina is the Indians final game of spring training before beginning their 2012 Major League Baseball season.  They are set to face the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday, April 5th at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

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