Mudcats blank Blue Rocks 3-0
Carolina rebounds from being shutout with a shutout
ZEBULON – After being shut out on Tuesday night, the Carolina Mudcats returned the favor by shutting out the Wilmington Blue Rocks by a score of 3-0 on Wednesday night. The win brings the Mudcats' record to 19-32 on the season.
Left-handed starting pitcher Shawn Morimando dominated the Blue Rocks through six innings, giving up only three hits and two walks. Morimando never allowed a base runner past second base in his six innings of work.
Morimando struck out a season-high eight batters during the game. Over his last two starts Morimando has not allowed a run, increasing his scoreless innings streak to 13. Morimando picked up the win, his third of the season, and second in as many starts after going winless since April 18th.
Mudcats manager David Wallace was really proud of what Morimando has been able to do over his last three starts.
“Real proud of Morimando," Wallace said. "After a loss like last night, it’s so important for the starter to come out and set the tone early like he did. He threw strikes. He walked some batters that we need to eliminate.”
Morimando was very happy with his start. “I went out and threw strikes and got outs. I had some great defense behind me. It was a big win for us,” said Morimando.
After a quite first two innings, the Mudcats got things going offensively in the third inning. With one out, third baseman Joe Sever hit a flare to right field for the first hit of the game for Carolina and first baseman Ryan Battaglia hit a double to center field. Center fielder Tyler Naquin walked to load the bases to bring up shortstop Francisco Lindor, who hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Sever.
Catcher Tony Wolters walked with one out in the fourth inning and right fielder Jordan Smith singled to put runners on first and second. Designated hitter Luigi Rodriguez struck out for the second out and Sever followed that up with a single to center field. However, Wolters attempted to score from second and was tagged out after hurdling over the catcher for the final out of the inning.
Wallace loved the effort Wolters put forth trying to score on that play. “I thought that was a great play. It was a great throw from the center fielder and Wolters did what he thought he needed to do to score. I exhaled when I found out he was okay,” said Wallace.
Smith was dropped in the order from his usual cleanup spot to sixth. Wallace said it wasn’t for any particular reason but to give him a breather. “It was just for a breather. Try to let him catch his breath and just play,” said Wallace.
With one out in the fifth inning, Naquin singled to center field and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Lindor singled to right field to break his three-game hitless streak, a span of 13 at-bats, and advance Naquin to third. Second baseman Joey Wendle hit a groundball to second base that scored Naquin to give the Mudcats a 2-0 lead.
After Morimando dominated through six innings, right hander Michael Goodnight didn’t have as much luck. The first pitch Goodnight threw hit the batter, but he immediately wiped that runner away by inducing a double play. A walk and a wild pitch put a runner on second with two outs, but a groundball to Lindor ended the inning.
Goodnight’s control was completely gone in the eighth inning after getting the first out. After walking the second batter, Goodnight threw two wild pitches to the next batter before finally walking him. In 1.1 innings of work, Goodnight walked three batters. Of the 27 pitches thrown by Goodnight, only nine were for strikes.
With one out in the eighth inning, left-hander JD Reichenbach entered the game and threw two pitches before inducing an inning-ending double play.
Wallace was not upset with Goodnight’s control or the eighth inning as a whole. “Goodnight did a good job," Wallace said. "He got a little wild there in the eighth but Reichenbach came in a got a huge double play to end the inning.”
Left fielder Bo Greenwell singled to start the eighth inning and moved to second base on a groundout by Smith. A balk moved Greenwell to third with two outs and he scored on a single by Rodriguez. Sever followed with a single of his own and the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch. However, Battaglia struck out to end the inning.
Right hander Jeff Johnson entered in the ninth inning to close out the game and gave up a hit and a walk, but induced a game-ending double play for his Carolina League-leading sixth save of the season.
Wallace was very happy with ninth inning as a whole. “That last inning was great,” said Wallace. “That play by Naquin for the first out and then the double play started by Lindor shows why he’s the best player in the league.”
Carolina finishes off the series against Wilmington on Thursday. Right hander Michael Peoples gets the start for the Mudcats. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15.
Zachary is a senior at NC State where he is majoring in communication-media, with minors in journalism and theatre. You can follow him on Twitter @RealZachFrancis.