Mudcats blank Pelicans 7-0
Carolina wins big despite roster shakeup
ZEBULON – After a day of roster moves, the Carolina Mudcats took an early lead against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans that continued to grow throughout the game and won 7-0. The shutout victory pulls Carolina within a game and a half of the Pelicans in the race for the second half division title.
Mudcats manager David Wallace was very happy with his team’s performance in the win.
Wallace said, “It was a huge win for us. Obviously it’s more fun to win, especially when you make up ground in the playoff race.”
A day filled with roster moves shook up the Mudcats lineup. Center fielder Tyler Naquin and starting pitcher Cody Anderson were both called up to Double-A Akron. The Carolina League All-Stars were replaced by center fielder Logan Vick from Low-A Lake County and starting pitcher Cole Cook from Double-A Akron. Outfielder Bo Greenwell was also placed on the disabled list with knee soreness and catcher Ryan Battaglia was promoted from short season Mahoning Valley.
Cook, while not excited to be sent down, understands what he needs to work on to get better.
“I’m just glad I got sent down instead of home,” said Cook. “I know I need to work on some stuff, but I’m just glad I still get to play ball.”
Wallace is happy for Naquin and Anderson and excited for the acquisitions.
“Tyler and Cody both deserve the call-up, and I wish them nothing but the best,” said Wallace. “Logan is a really talented player that really knows how to play the game. I told him not to go out there and try to be Tyler, but to just be himself.”
The Mudcats sent Cook to the mound, who dominated Myrtle Beach over six innings. Cook scattered three hits and only one walk over six innings while striking out four.
Wallace realizes how difficult it is to get sent down and go out and pitch a strong game like Cook did.
“I’m really impressed by how Cole threw the ball. It says a lot about him as a teammate. I know he’s not excited about being back here, but he stepped up and threw a great game for us,” said Wallace. “I was excited to see him go out there and put all that behind him and pitch the way that he did.”
Cook allowed a leadoff double in the second inning and allowed the runner to advance to third with two outs, but the runner was stranded there to keep the Pelicans off the scoreboard.
Carolina took the early lead when left fielder Bryson Myles scored in the second inning. Myles walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a groundout by catcher Alex Lavisky. A wild pitch put Myles on third base, and shortstop Erik Gonzalez hit an RBI single into left field to score Myles.
First baseman Jerrud Sabourin walked and third baseman Todd Hankins singled to right field to load the bases, still with only one out. Vick got his first RBI with Carolina by driving in Gonzalez for the second run of the night.
Back-to-back singles by designated hitter Paddy Matera and Myles in the third inning put runners on second and third with one out. Gonzalez got his second RBI of the night on a single to center field to drive in Matera.
Vick walked with one out in the fourth inning and took second base on a wild pitch. The Myrtle Beach catcher picked up the ball and threw to second base, but the throw skipped into center field to allow Vick to take third base. An RBI single by right fielder Jordan Smith tacked another run on to the Carolina lead.
After second baseman Joey Wendle struck out for the second out of the inning, Carolina faced a new pitcher. Pelicans starting pitcher Luis Parra lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits. Parra also walked four batters and struck out three.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Gonzalez walked and a single by Sabourin put runners on the corners. A wild pitch allowed Gonzalez to score and Sabourin to advance to second for a five run lead. A second wild pitch allowed Sabourin to advance to third base, but he was stranded there as Hankins popped out to end the inning.
Left hander J.D. Reichenbach relieved Cook in the seventh inning. Reichenbach pitched 1.1 innings, allowing three hits and no runs.
After Myles reached on an error with one out in the seventh inning, Lavisky crushed a two-run home run to left field to widen the margin.
“It was just icing on the cake,” said Lavisky.
For the first time since the fifth inning -- and only the third time in the game -- a double allowed the Pelicans to reach second base. A single put runners on the corners and that would be all for Reichenbach, who was replaced by right hander Francisco Valera.
Valera hit the first batter he faced to load the bases. A strikeout to the next batter got the second out of the inning and a diving catch by Smith prevented any of the runners from scoring to preserve the shutout.
Valera pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the victory.
Carolina looks to pull within one half game of the Pelicans in the playoff race tomorrow night. Left-hander Shawn Morimando takes the mound for the Mudcats, looking to rebound from a rough last start. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
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.