Mudcats blow save, fall 5-4
Johnson blows first save of season in loss
FREDERICK- A back-and forth-battle got away from the Carolina Mudcats, who lost to the Frederick Keys 5-4 Saturday.
Mudcats closer Jeff Johnson surrendered a one-out walk and a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning. With runners on second and third, Johnson gave up a two-out two RBI walk-off single. Those were the first runs surrendered by Johnson this year, and this was also his first blown save of the year.
The Mudcats began the scoring in the contest as they went ahead early and scored a run in the top of the first inning after center fielder Bryson Myles walked as the first batter of the game. He then stole second base, advanced to third on a base hit by shortstop Francisco Lindor and scored on an RBI groundout by first baseman Jerrud Sabourin.
However, the Keys came back to take the lead in the bottom of the second inning. A walk and a double put runners on second and third with nobody out. Mudcats starting pitcher Cody Anderson struck out the next batter, but gave up a two-run single to allow the Keys to take a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
With one on and nobody out in the bottom of the second inning, Myles injured his right shoulder and was taken out of the game attempting to make the catch on a double by Keys designated hitter Zane Chavez. He was replaced by center fielder Tyler Naquin who was originally given the day off. After being evaluated, everything turned out to be ok, and he should not miss any more time.
Third baseman Justin Toole got the Mudcats on the bases again in the third inning with a single up the middle and was safe after the second baseman threw wildly to first base. Toole advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by MacPhee. Naquin then put runners on the corners with one out, and Lindor hit an RBI single to tie the game at two.
The Keys retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Anderson gave up a home run to Frederick left fielderSteve Bumbry, his second of the season. That was the first home run surrendered by Anderson this season. Anderson came back strong though and retired the next three batters.
After the third inning, the Mudcats struggled to get things going on offense.
With one out in the fifth inning, Lindor singled on a bunt. After Sabourin lined out to center field, right fielder Jordan Smith hit a double to put runners on second and third with two out. Lindor appeared to be out at third, but the umpire called him safe, much to the dismay of the Frederick fans. Catcher Jake Lowery grounded out to first to end the inning.
Valerio doubled to lead off the sixth inning, but was stranded there after the next three batters were retired.
On the day, the Mudcats left nine runners on base.
Naquin led off the seventh inning with a bunt down the third base line. Frederick relief pitcher David Walters threw wildly to first base to allow Naquin to advance to second on the error. Lindor followed with a fly ball for the first out, and Sabourin grounded out for the second out, but Naquin advanced to third on the out. Smith then hit an RBI single to tie the game at three.
Anderson was relieved by right-hander Grant Sides in the seventh inning. Anderson’s final line was six innings pitched, three hits, three runs, all earned, and four strikeouts.
The Keys hit Sides hard from the beginning of the seventh. After a grounder down the third base line and a single into right field, runners were at first and second with nobody out. A line drive was hit right to MacPhee who couldn’t haul it in, but Smith was able to throw out the runner at second for the first out. With runners on the corners, Sides induced a double play to end the inning and get out of the jam.
The Mudcats attempt to bounce back and conclude the series against the Keys on Sunday. Right-hander Jacob Lee is scheduled to get the start for the 2:00 game.
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.