Morimando, Mudcats win pitching dual over Dash, 2-1
Carolina extends winning streak to five games following Saturday's victory
ZEBULON, NC - The Carolina Mudcats rallied from a one run deficit to win their fifth straight contest on Saturday night as they squeaked out a 2-1 win over the Winston-Salem Dash. The Mudcats scored a run in both the sixth and seventh inning to recover from a early home run from the Dash.
With the win, Carolina improves to 15-9 during the second half and 44-47 overall. The five-game win streak is the longest of the season for the Mudcats.
Shawn Morimando produced a strong performance before leaving game in the top of the seventh. The Carolina starter appeared to grab at his hamstring after running in to play a Zach Voight bunt.
When asked about the injury after the game, Tucker quickly dispelled any worries about a pulled hamstring.
"It was just a cramp fortunately, "said Tucker."They're hydrating him and doing everything else they need to."
Morimando spent considerable time in the training room after the game and was not readily available for comment.
During his outing, Morimando surrendered just one earned run off of six hits through 6.1 innings of play.
His recovery from an early home run impressed Tucker and the Mudcats coaching staff.
"He has done a great job of staying composed and keeping us in the game," Tucker explained. "He could have easily just thrown balls all over the place when we got behind but he continues to impress us and mature."
Carolina's Ben Heller (1-0, 3.38) earned the victory after keeping the Dash off the bases in the bottom of the seventh.
Winston-Salem starter Tyler Danish hurled 5.1 innings and gave up just one earned run off of five hits and two walks on his way to a no decision.
Euclides Leyer (1-3, 4.31) was credited with the loss after he allowed the Mudcats to take the lead in the seventh inning. Leyer finished the game having allowed one earned run off three hits and one walk in 2.0 innings.
While Carolina's bats seemed to take a while to warm up, Winston-Salem looked threatening in the early stages of the game.
The Dash nearly found an early run against the Mudcats in the first inning but Morimando managed to keep the game scoreless. After two quick outs from Winston-Salem, Courtney Hawkins poked a double down the line and a took third on a throwing error from Yandy Diaz. Right fielder Jason Coats earned a walk to put runners on the corners, but tough pitching from Morimando forced a fly out from Grant Buckner to end the inning.
Winston-Salem went on to get their only run of the night in the top of the second. The Dash's Nick Basto belted a solo shot over the wall in left to lead off the inning and create a 1-0 advantage.
From there, Morimando made things very difficult for the Winston-Salem hitters. The talented south paw held the Dash to just four additional hits over 4.1 scoreless innings.
Carolina finally provided Morimando with some run support in the bottom of the sixth. Erik Gonzalez opened things up with a single to right and a wild pitch from Tyler Danish moved the short stop into scoring position. LeVon Washington made Danish pay by sending an RBI double down the third base line to score Gonzalez.
Danish was replaced by Euclides Leyer later in the inning as the Mudcats continued to push for the go ahead run. Jeremy Lucas then singled on a ground ball to left that sent LeVon Washington to third.
The Carolina DH took second during the play after a poor throw from left fielder Courtney Hawkins. The throw was so far from the bag that Washington could have scored easily if Scooter Tucker had elected to send the runner.
The missed opportunity in the sixth didn't stop the Carolina hitters in the following frame. Yhoxian Medinaslapped a leadoff double off the wall in left and quickly stole third to put the Mudcats back in business. Todd Hankins then brought Medina around to score with a line drive single that put Carolina ahead 2-1.
Winston-Salem continued to battle and appeared poised to regain the lead in the top of the eighth. Reliever Grant Sides got himself in trouble by walking two Winston-Salem batters and needed a meeting at the mound with Steve Karsay to regain his composure. Sides came out of the meeting with confidence and went on to keep the Dash from scoring by fanning back to back hitters.
Sides would go on to finish the game and earn the save after throwing for 2.0 scoreless innings in which he didn't allow a single Dash hit.
The winning streak has been fun for the players and fans but it hasn't changed the mindset of the level-headed Tucker and his Carolina team.
"It's a long season and you have to play steady," Tucker mentioned. "Obviously you celebrate a win and contemplate what you could have done differently in a loss. But we're just trying to get them to come in, do their job, prepare themselves."
The Carolina Mudcats will continue their series with the Winston-Salem Dash on Sunday afternoon. Carolina ace Ryan Merritt (9-2, 1.82) is set to start and will face big left-hander Jefferson Olacio (0-4, 4.84).
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.