Jake Lowery comes up big in Mudcats 5-3 victory
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (3-2) were able to pull off a 5-3 win to take the series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-3) on a chilly evening at Five County Stadium Wednesday to wrap up their three game set. The Mudcats now have opened up the year with two straight series wins as they were able to take two of three from both the Blue Rocks and the Winston Salem Dash to open the year.
The game was tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the eighth when catcher Jake Lowery came up huge for the Mudcats. With men on first and second and two out Lowery drove a ball to right field which allowed pinch runner Justin Toole to come around from second to score, giving the Mudcats the go ahead and eventual winning run.
The Mudcats were able to add another run when right fielder Carlos Moncrief drove a ball off the 20’ high center field wall, allowing Mudcat DH Jesus Aguilar to score. Lowery, trying to score from first, was thrown out but the damage was done as the Mudcats took a 5-3 lead into the ninth.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez was gushing about Lowery’s big hit in the eighth after the game, “Jake Lowery did that the other day, last Sunday when we played here we were down by one in the ninth and he came up with a big hit with two outs and two strikes and tonight he did the same. He’s that kind of player. He waits for the occasion”
The Mudcats got off to a great start as they were able to jump on Blue Rock starter Tyler Sample early. In the bottom of the first, first baseman Jeremie Tice was able get a grounder through the right side for a single with the bases loaded allowing centerfielder Tyler Holt and third baseman Giovanny Urshela to score. The Mudcats weren’t done though as Lowery came up with Tice on first and two outs and was able to draw a 3-2 count allowing Tice to get a jump from first. This head start allowed Tice to score when Lowery hit a line shot double to the wall giving the Mudcats the early 3-0 lead.
Rodriguez talked about the importance of scoring runs early “its very important especially when you have a pitcher throwing strikes for us. Clayton Cook did an outstanding job for five innings. The first hit was in the sixth inning so you have to give him some room to work so we scored 3 runs in the first inning and that was huge for him that way he was confident throwing his pitches.”
Righty Clayton Cook took the mound for the Mudcats and looked great in his outing giving up only one earned run, and throwing five innings of no-hit baseball.
Errors in the sixth would hurt the Mudcats and allow the Blue Rocks to get back into the game. An error on a throw from Cook to Tony Wolters and another by Tice helped lead to the Blue Rocks first runs. As short stop Angel would drive a single up the middle with the bases loaded scoring Blue Rock second baseman Luis Pieterson and DH Kenny Swab. Later in the inning center fielder Whit Merrifield would score on a sac fly by catcher Kevin David.
Cook may have not had the prettiest stat line at the end of the game but his performance didn’t go unnoticed by the coaches.
Pitching coach Scott Erickson enjoyed his starter’s performance. “ He was pitching in real well. He was throwing strikes, getting ahead early, attacking the hitters, mixing in his break pitches really well so he did a great job with overall just pitching and commanding the inner half of the strike zone.”
The Mudcats again got great pitching from their bullpen as Dale Dickerson, Francisco Jimenez and Jose Flores combined for three and one third scoreless innings giving the Mudcats the chance to win it late.
The Mudcats improve to 4-2 on the year and now have a two game lead on the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Winston Salem Dash in the Southern Division early in the year.
The Mudcats are off Thursday before heading off on the road for their first road trip of the season. The Mudcats start a three game series in Winston Salem on Friday against the Winston Salem Dash at 7:00 pm.