Mudcats end final home stand with three straight losses
Carolina swept by Red Sox to put them six games out
ZEBULON – In the home season finale, the Carolina Mudcats dropped a heartbreaker 6-4 to the Salem Red Sox in 12 innings. The loss drops Carolina to 31-32 for the second half and six games behind Salem with seven games to play.
Right hander Francisco Valera relieved Martin in the 11th inning. After a shutout inning and getting two outs in the 12th, Valera gave up a single, and a balk moved the runner to second. An RBI single scored the go ahead run, and an error allowed the next runner to reach and a second run to score.
With left fielder Bryson Myles at third base with two outs, a strikeout ended the home season for the Mudcats.
Mudcats manager David Wallace summed it up by saying the final game went just like the rest of the season has for the Mudcats.
“It was another disappointing loss that we just didn’t make the plays we needed to,” said Wallace.
Left hander Shawn Morimando took the mound for Carolina and pitched 6.1 strong innings for the Mudcats, allowing four runs on five hits, and a walk, while striking out seven batters.
Wallace said the team has learned a lot this season, but everyone still has a lot of the little things to learn.
Wallace said, “They still need to learn the value of the little things. A balk here, a walk there. We need to learn the value of 90 feet because that can decide the game.”
After a scoreless first inning by both teams, Carolina took an early lead in the second inning. With one out in the inning, shortstop Erik Gonzalez crushed a ball off the center field wall and raced around the bases for a triple. First baseman Jerrud Sabourin drove in Gonzalez with a sacrifice fly to take the lead.
Salem came right back to tie the game in the third inning with a leadoff home run. With one out, a single put a runner on base, but as he attempted to steal second, catcher Alex Lavisky threw a bullet to second base to knock him off the bases for the second out, and a strikeout ended the inning.
The game did not stay tied for long, as right fielder Logan Vick crushed the first pitch of the inning over the center field wall to give Carolina back the lead.
Salem threatened again in the fourth inning with a single with one out. Morimando attempted a pickoff throw, but sent it into right field. The runner raced around to third base on the stolen base and a throwing error. However, the runner was stranded there as back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning.
Designated hitter Tony Wolters led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double to deep right center, and with one out, Sabourin bounced a single over the mound to put runners at the corners. However, Lavisky grounded into an inning ending double play to prevent a run from scoring.
Salem led off the top of the fifth inning with a ground ball to shortstop, but Gonzalez over threw first base, so the runner reached safely on a single. However, the runner overran the base, and Lavisky threw out the runner for the first out of the inning, and a fly out followed by a groundout ended the inning with no other runners reaching.
The Mudcats ran into serious trouble in the seventh inning, as an error, single, and walk loaded the bases with one, and that would be all for Morimando.
Right hander Benny Suarez relieved Morimando with one out in the seventh inning, and walked the first batter he faced to force in the tying run and a sacrifice fly brought in the leading run. A single brought in a third run in the inning to put Carolina down by two at the end of the inning.
Sabourin led off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the left field line, and advanced to third base on a groundout by Lavisky. That would be all for Salem starting pitcher Mike Augliera.
The reliever came in and walked the leadoff batter, Vick, to put runners on the corners with one out. Left fielder Bryson Myles followed with a sacrifice fly to score Sabourin and cut the lead to one. Center fielder Jordan Smith walked to put two on with two outs, but second baseman Joey Wendle flew out to end the inning and the threat.
Right hander Josh Martin relieved Suarez in the eighth inning and struggled from the beginning. After giving up a leadoff double, he struck out the next batter for the first out of the inning. A walk put two on, and a force out at third base got the second out before a groundout ended the inning without allowing a run to score.
Third baseman Paddy Matera walked to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning and was lifted for pinch runner Todd Hankins. Wolters sacrificed Hankins to third, and Gonzalez followed with a double to deep right field to put runners at second and third with one out. Sabourin followed with an RBI groundout to score Hankins and tie the game at four to end the inning.
Martin settled down to pitch a second shutout inning, giving up only a two out single.
The Mudcats went 1-2-3 in the ninth inning to send the game to extra innings for the 12th time on the season.
Carolina ends the season on a seven game road trip, beginning with a doubleheader against Lynchburg on Wednesday after an off day on Tuesday.
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.