Mudcats Fall to Dash in Series Finale
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (15-11) fell to the Winston Salem Dash (13-13) 7-0 in the game in which baseball wasn’t the main story.
In the second inning with the Mudcats already trailing 7-0 second baseman Ronny Rodriguez came up to bat to lead off the inning. On the first pitch of the inning Dash starter Justin Collop drilled Rodriguez after already having hit first baseman Jesus Aguilar in the first. Rodriguez charged the mound, bringing his bat with him and motioning like he was going to hit Collop with it as he got towards the mound.
Both benches emptied and a brawl ensued next to the mound. Aguilar, who seemed upset about being hit in the first, was one of the quickest out of the dugout as he could be seen throwing punches around in the crowd. In all four players were ejected, Aguilar and Rodriguez along with reliever Cole Cook for the Mudcats and Collop for the Dash.
“It was a reaction, I don’t think they were throwing at anybody. They have to pitch in and he hit Aguilar and then hit Ronny. They were pitching inside like they should be and Ronny reacted and that’s part of the game” said manager Edwin Rodriguez.
Back to the actual baseball game, the Mudcats were unable to come through with a big hit as they left 11 men on base. In the third through the fifth, the Mudcats had at least two base runners in each inning – including a bases loaded opportunity in the fourth. “We had plenty of chances tonight, we had the bases loaded in the fourth and plenty of runners on in other innings. We needed a big hit and it never came” said Rodriguez. The Dash bullpen, led by Brian Blough’s five scoreless innings, tossed a total of eight scoreless innings to shut out the Mudcats.
For the Mudcats, Joseph Colon, who was just called up from Lake County, found the higher level to be more difficult. After posting an impressive 2.90 ERA in 19 starts for the Captains, he struggled to keep the Dash off the board. Colon wound up going five innings giving up seven runs, two earned, while serving up two long home runs. “Rough outing, he was throwing strikes but they were hitting good pitches. He was pitching down in the zone but they were just able to string hits together against him” said Rodriguez.
Colon’s defense certainly didn’t help him as he saw three errors committed behind him. Starting in the first, two errors led to four unearned runs for the Dash to start off the game. The first batter of the game, left fielder Kennyn Walker, reached on a throwing error by Rodriguez and the inning only got worse from there. Later in the inning, a two out single by first baseman Dan Black drove in a run. Then, right fielder Cyle Hankerd came up and launched a shot off the left field scoreboard to cap the inning for the Dash.
Center fielder Trayce Thompson tacked on a run for the Dash in the third as he drove a solo shot over the right field wall, extending the lead to five.
The Dash added another run in the fourth, as following a one out walk to third baseman Juan Silverio, catcher Miguel Gonzalez doubled to right center to drive him in.
An errant pick off attempt by Colon in the fifth allowed the Dash to pick up another unearned run as they lead extended to 7-0. Shortstop Marcus Semien reached on a single to lead off the inning. Colon, trying to keep the speedy Semien close, threw over to first. His throw was way wide, however, and sailed into the Dash bullpen, allowing Semien to move up all the way to third. Semien then scored easily on a sac fly by Thompson.
The Mudcats will have to wait and see what type of suspensions will be handed out for the brawl that took place. Meanwhile, the team will have to regroup as they take the field again at Five County Stadium Friday at 7:15 to start a three game series against the Lynchburg Hillcats.