Mudcats drop series opener 8-3
Long balls lead past Winston-Salem past Carolina
The Carolina Mudcats began a four-game home series against the Winston-Salem Dash with an 8-3 loss at Five County Stadium Wednesday night.
A season-high three home runs felled the Mudcats, whose bullpen struggled to contain the Dash offense.
Right-hander Cole Cook (0-1) started for Carolina and left the game after four innings, six hits, five runs, two home runs and four strikeouts. J.D. Reichenbach was able to keep the Dash scoreless in his two frames, but Josh Martin’s seventh inning gave the Dash their third home run. Christopher Beck (9-8) took the win for Winston-Salem. The right-hander pitched seven innings pitched and six hits, one run and no strikeouts.
A scoreless three innings gave way to a five-run top of the fourth for the Dash. Designated hitter Chris Curley broke open the scoring with a leadoff home run to shallow right field. Cook was able to get two outs with a single from center fielder Courtney Hawkins, but a wild pitch and a hit batter sent Hawkins to second and third baseman Jeremy Farrell to first. Left fielder Grant Buckner followed up with a base hit to third to score Hawkins. Right fielder Josh Richmond stepped up next to deliver the farthest hit home run at Five County this year with a blast to the center to score Farrell and Buckner and bring the score to 5-0 Winston-Salem.
Manager David Wallace said Cook’s first start of the season gave a glimpse of what he’s capable of, despite the tough fourth inning.
“This was our first real look at Cole this year, and he did well, he just got in trouble in the fourth and couldn’t quite keep it close and keep his pitch count down, but he’ll bounce back,” Wallace said.
“He put a lot of pressure on himself to go out there and throw at least five or six strong innings and was prepared to do that, but he just ran into too much trouble in the fourth.”
Reichenbach entered for Cook in the top of the fifth to pitch a scoreless frame.
Carolina got on the board in the bottom of the fifth. A double from shortstop Justin Toole followed by single from third baseman Zach MacPhee and a walk for center fielder Tyler Naquin loaded the bases with no out. A fly from right fielder Jordan Smith scored Toole but gave the Dash a double play. Left fielder Bo Greenwell ended the inning with a fly out to left field.
That showing was one of a few missed opportunities this game, Wallace said.
“There’s a couple of situations that we would have like to come trough a little bit better,” he said. “With bases loaded and nobody out, we should have gotten at least two or three out of that—especially in a situation where we’re down by five.”
Reichenbach had a few close calls in the top of the sixth. First baseman Rangel Ravelo doubled to left field and Buckner walked to put two on base with one out, but a double play from Toole, second baseman Joe Wendle and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin kept the Dash from reaching home.
The Mudcats were able to get two on base in the bottom of the sixth with a hit batter and a single from Wolters.
Josh Martin relieved Reichenbach in the top of the seventh. He walked shortstop Joey DeMichele and pitched a single to Curley to set Hawkins up for the third Winston-Salem home run of the game. His hit to center field brought the score to 8-1 Winston-Salem.
Greenwell started off a rally in the bottom of the eighth with a single. Paddy Matera doubled to deep left field to score Greenwell. Catcher Tony Wolters singled and Sabourin grounded out to give the Mudcats two runs on three hits. Toole popped out to end the inning with Wolters stranded on second.
Wolters led the Mudcats offensively and reached all four times at the plate. Wallace said he expects a better showing all around as the series continues—offensively, pitching wise and defensively.
The Mudcats dropped to 11-13 this half and 33-60 for the season, and the Dash improved to 12-13 this half and 49-45 this season. The series continues Thursday night at Five County Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.