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Mudcats, Brown shutout Blue Rocks 7-0

The Mudcats tallied eleven hits en route to seven runs and a shutout victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Thursday.

Mudcats, Brown shutout Blue Rocks 7-0
Shortstop Erik Gonzalez (10) continued his great start to the season by raising his batting average to .349 after going 2-for-5 with a two run shot in the seventh. (Photo: Tony Lastoria)
April 24, 2014
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WILMINGTON, DE — The Carolina Mudcats bounced back from a tough loss in their previous outing to shutout the Wilmington Blue Rocks 7-0 on Thursday night behind a big seventh inning, and a strong pitching performance from D.J. Brown.

With the game still close, and the Blue Rocks within range, Carolina (11-9) had to put runs on the board, and they produced in a big way. The Mudcats added three runs in the seventh inning after Wilmington pulled starter Jonathan Dziedzic to put the game out of reach.

Luigi Rodriguez opened things up by reaching base on a walk, and James Roberts followed with a RBI double to score the speedy right fielder from first. A Charlie Valerio ground out allowed Roberts to advance to third. Two consecutive walks loaded the bases for the Mudcats. Erik Gonzalez hit a soft line drive to center that scored Roberts and Todd Hankins giving Carolina a five run cushion going into the final two innings.

Starting pitcher D.J. Brown (2-0) produced a quality performance sllowing four hits in 5.0 innings of play, while keeping the Blue Rocks scoreless. Brown recorded four strikeouts and gave up one walk.

Poor defense from the Blue Rocks allowed Carolina to jump out to an early lead in the first inning. After a leadoff strikeout from Hankins, center fielder Logan Vick doubled on a deep fly ball to right. A Gonzalez strike out had Wilmington close to the end of the inning, but a costly error kept their defense on the field. Alex Monsalve sharply hit a ball to third base, which was misplayed by Wilmington’s Hunter Dozier allowing Vick to score from second, and Carolina a 1-0 lead. 

The Mudcats put together a string of hits in the top of the fifth inning to extend their lead. Charlie Valerio doubled to left, and a wild pitch from Dziedzic allowed him to advance to third. Another two-out single, this time from Vick, brought Valerio home to score giving the Mudcats a 2-0 advantage.

Carolina continued to add to their lead in the final two innings. In the top of the eighth, Ollie Linton reached base on a fielding error by shortstop Raul Mondesi, and was able to take second base after a wild pitch. With a runner in scoring position, Rodriguez blasted a triple to deep center that scored Linton.

Another pitching change in the ninth inning could not stop the bleeding for the Blue Rocks. Right-hander Matthew Murray surrendered three consecutive singles to Carolina, which allowed Gonzalez to score the final run of the game capping off a solid offensive outing for the Mudcats.

Wilmington’s Dziedzic (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season after pitching 6.0 innings and allowing one earned run on four hits. Dziedzic struck out eight Mudcat batters, but failed to get any run support from his team.

Anthony Gallas was ejected in the top of the seventh inning following a pick-off attempt at first base in which he was ruled out.

The Mudcats will look to close out their first series with Wilmington on Friday night with another win. Left-hander Shawn Morimondo (2-0) is expected to start for Carolina and will face Christian Bindor (1-1).

Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.

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