Mudcats 9th inning rally falls short, lose 5-4
ZEBULON - The Carolina Mudcats (20-17) ninth inning rally fell short as they lost to the Salem Red Sox (20-15) 5-4 in third game of the four game series on Wednesday night.
The Mudcats were blanked for most of the night thanks in large part to Red Sox starter Ryan Pressly who went seven scoreless innings striking out eight while scattering four hits. The Mudcats attempted to come back in the ninth off Red Sox reliever Andrew Jones as they strung together five straight hits to start the inning but strikeouts by second baseman Tony Wolters and Carlos Moncrief and then a fly out by DH Jeremie Tice with the tying run on third resulted in the Mudcats coming up just short.
The Mudcats had other opportunities in the game with men on in scoring position with less than two outs in the first and fourth innings but were unable to push across any runs.
“You have to give them credit they made their pitches when they had to, we tried hard but you have to give their pitches credit,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez.
What really hurt the Mudcats was their inability to get a big hit with men on base. Tice, who is leading the Mudcats in most offensive categories, was 0-5 at the plate and in each of his at bats their were runners in scoring position.
Mudcat starter Will Roberts looked a little shaky out on the mound having to work out of having a lot of base runners reach. He only gave up three runs, two earned, but he constantly had to contend with base runners as he gave up eight hits over his four and two third innings pitched.
“[Roberts] struggled as he was pitching behind in the count and at any level when you do that you are going to get hurt,” said Rodriguez.
The Red Sox cracked the scoreboard in the fourth as back to back one out singles by catcher Christian Vazquez and third baseman Michael Almanzar put Vazquez on third. Roberts then threw a wild pitch with DH Adalberto Ibarra batting allowing Vazquez to come home for the first run of the game. Roberts got out of the inning without any other damage as he struck out Ibarra and induced a line out by right fielder by Shannon Wilkerson.
The Mudcats looked to answer in the bottom of the fourth as Moncrief led off the inning with a double; however, Moncrief never got beyond second. First baseman Jesus Aguilar flew out to center which was too shallow for Moncrief to advance. Tice struckout and Lowery flew out to left to end the inning.
A two out rally by the Red Sox in the fifth proved to be the end of the night for Roberts. First baseman Travis Shaw singled to left to get the rally started. Then on a 3-2 count with Shaw moving from first Jacobs drilled a double to right center easily allowing Shaw to score from first. Bogaerts came up and reached on an infield single as he hit the ball in the hole between third and short. As shortstop Ronny Rodriguez roamed over to field it his throw to first was in the dirt and got away from Aguilar allowing Jacobs to come around from second to score giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. After the infield single the Mudcats turned to their bullpen as Kyle Petter came in to relieve Roberts.
The Red Sox tacked on a run in the seventh off Petter. A lead off double by Coyle proved to be costly, as following a fly out to center by Shaw that allowed Coyle to tag and move up to third, Jacobs doubled to right scoring Coyle and gave the Sox a 4-0 lead.
The Mudcats put together a two out rally as they loaded up the bases in the eighth. Wolters drew a walk and then Moncrief reached on an error by Coyle at second. Aguilar then reached on a fielder's choice as Bogaerts got Moncrief out at second after making a diving stop to load the bases up for Tice. Tice drove a ball to deep left center but Bradley Jr tracked it down just in front of the warning track to end the inning.
The Red Sox put up an insurance run in the ninth which proved to be much needed. Shaw drew a one out walk from Trey Haley who had come in to relieve in the eighth. Shaw moved to second on a wild pitch then scored on Bogaerts single making the score 5-0.
Finally the Mudcats pushed across some runs in the ninth. Five straight hits to start the inning put the score at 5-3 with third baseman Tyler Cannon on second and center fielder Tyler Holt on first. However, consecutive strikeouts by Wolters and Moncrief stalled the rally. A single by Aguilar cut the defecit to one and put the tying run 90 feet away for Tice. unfortunately, Tice was unable to come up with a hit as he lined out to right to end the game.
The Mudcats will look to split the series with the Red Sox as they face off again Thursday night at 7:15 at Five County Stadium in the final game of the series.