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Mudcats close first half with another loss

Mudcats close first half with another loss
June 16, 2013
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MYRTLE BEACH – The first half of the Carolina League season came to a close on Sunday night as the Carolina Mudcats lost to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7-5.  The Mudcats lost for the 11th time in 12 games to bring their first half record to 22-48.

Starting pitcher Cody Anderson continued his dominant stretch as of late with another dominant pitching performance.  In four innings of work, the Carolina League All-Star allowed only two hits and one run.  Anderson also struck out three and walked two.

Carolina got on the board first in the second inning.  With one out, designated hitter Bo Greenwell walked and advanced to second base on a groundout by catcher Tony Wolters.  Right fielder Luigi Rodriguez walked, and shortstop Paddy Matera followed with an RBI single to center field.  Third baseman Zack MacPhee followed with an RBI single of his own to give the Mudcats an early two-run lead.

With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Anderson walked a batter, a groundout advanced the runner to second, and an RBI double cut into the Carolina lead, but Myrtle Beach would not score again in the inning.

As both teams traded several scoreless frames, the Mudcats were the next to score in the sixth inning.  After a pitching change, Wolters singled to lead-off the inning, and stole second base with Rodriguez at bat, who walked.  Matera hit an RBI double to center field to score Wolters.  With runners on second and third and no outs, MacPhee walked to load the bases.  Left fielder Bryson Myles hit a sacrifice fly to bring in the last run of the inning.

Right hander Francisco Valera replaced Anderson in the fifth inning.  After a scoreless fifth, Valera ran into trouble in the sixth inning.  Three straight singles to start the bottom of the sixth inning allowed the Pelicans to score before recording an out in the inning.  With runners on second and third with two outs, an RBI double tied the score for the first time in the game.

Center fielder Jordan Smith singled to lead-off the seventh inning, and promptly stole second base.  Myrtle Beach manager Jason Wood was ejected after arguing whether Smith was safe or out on the steal attempt.  Greenwell lined out to right field, and Smith advanced to third.  However, a throwing error allowed Smith to score and give Carolina the lead.

With two outs in the seventh inning, Valera walked a batter, and allowed an RBI double to once again allow Myrtle Beach to tie the score. 

Right hander Grant Sides relieved Valera after three innings of work in the eighth inning.  Valera’s final line was three innings pitched, five hits, four runs, four strikeouts and two walks.

After a scoreless eighth inning by Sides, the offense was unable to score in the top of the ninth inning, leaving it up to the pitching staff to extend the game to extra innings.  With two outs, Sides issued a walk, and was replaced by right hander Fabio Martinez.  Martinez only faced one batter, and allowed a walk-off two-run home run to end the game and the first half of the season.  Sides was handed the loss to fall to 2-3 on the season.

The Mudcats are now off until Friday due to the All-Star break.  Four Mudcats will represent the team as the Carolina League takes on the California League.  Center fielder Tyler Naquin, shortstop Francisco Lindor, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin and Anderson will represent the Mudcats.  Carolina will begin the second half of the season on Friday at Potomac. 

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.

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