Mudcats drop series opener to Pelicans, 12-6
The Mudcats were no match for the league-leading Pelicans on Friday.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The Carolina Mudcats fell 12-6 Friday to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in the first of a three-game road trip. The Mudcats jumped out to an early lead behind the bat of Ryan Battaglia, but were overpowered by the explosive Myrtle Beach offense.
Battaglia drew first blood for the Mudcats in the top of the second with his first homerun of the season, which brought in Anthony Gallas to give the Mudcats a 2-0 advantage.
The Mudcats doubled their lead in the top of the fourth. A leadoff walk and stolen base again put Gallas in scoring position for Battaglia, who picked up his third RBI of the night on a double to deep center. Jerrud Sabourin followed with a double of his own to drive in Battaglia and make it 4-0.
Mudcats starter D.J. Brown controlled the Myrtle Beach offense early, but started to run into trouble in the bottom of the fourth as he allowed a double and walk to begin the inning. Preston Beck then tripled to drive in the two base runners. Hanser Alberto followed with a sacrifice fly to center, which drove in Beck to cut the Mudcats lead to 4-3.
The Mudcats quickly responded in the top of the fifth. With two outs, LeVon Washington singled to center. Gallas then belted his seventh homer of the season to extend the Mudcats advantage to 6-3.
However, Brown quickly ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning. Luis Mendez singled and Nick Williams doubled to put two runners in scoring position for cleanup hitter Joey Gallo. With first base open, the Mudcats elected to pitch to the Carolina League leader in homers and paid the price as Gallo hit a three-run shot to tie the game at 6.
Brown pitched into the sixth, but was taken out after recording the first two outs of the inning. He earned a no decision, pitching 5 2/3 innings in which he gave up six runs on seven hits. Brown struck out 5 batters while only walking one.
The Mudcats turned to Clayton Cook in relief. Cook was able to record the final out of the sixth, but found trouble in the bottom of the seventh. A hit batter, single and walk loaded the bases for Gallo, who crushed his 20th homerun of the season to give the Pelicans a 10-6 lead. After the Pelicans began threatening again in the seventh, Cook was pulled for Rob Nixon. Cook took the loss after giving up 5 runs in just 0.2 innings pitched.
Nixon came in and also struggled to end the seventh, walking Luis Mendez with the bases loaded to put the Pelicans up 11-6. Nick Williams hit a solo homerun off Nixon in the eighth for the game’s final run.
Myrtle Beach’s pitching staff dominated the Mudcats late after their shaky start. Starter Sam Wolff was pulled after just three innings, allowing two runs on two hits. He was replaced by Jason Knapp, who lasted just an inning after giving up two runs.
The Pelicans then turned to Cody Ege in the fifth, who earned the win allowing two runs in three innings. Jose Leclerc got the final six outs for Myrtle Beach in commanding fashion allowing no hits and striking out four.
The loss drops the Mudcats to 23-29 on the year, while the league-leading Pelicans improve to 35-17.