ZEBULON- Winston-Salem defeated the Carolina Mudcats 7-5 on Saturday evening after falling behind early in the game.
The Mudcats giving up the first run of the game has been a trend as of late, as it’s happened in six of their last seven games. The Mudcats are 10-20 overall this season when their opponent scores first and this night would follow that trend as the Mudcats fell 7-5.
The Dash put the first runs on the board in the second. Left fielder Brady Shoemaker drew a one out walk to get the threat started. Right fielder Michael Earley then reached on an infield single. Following the infield single DH Kyle Shelton drove a ball to right center for a double, easily scoring Shoemaker as Earley stopped at third. Earley then scored on a grounder to short by catcher Miguel Gonzalez putting the dash up 2-0. Ronny Rodriguez booted the ball at short, allowing Gonzalez to reach. The error wouldn’t cost the Mudcats any runs, as Shelton was thrown out by Mudcat catcher Jake Lowery as he attempted to steal third. After a single by third baseman Juan Silverio, Rayl got second baseman Daniel Wagner to line out to second.
The Mudcats put together a two out rally against Dash starter Spencer Arroyo in the fourth to get on the board. Right fielder Carlos Moncrief singled to center. Moncrief then advanced to second when catcher Jake Lowery drew a walk, his second of the game. Shortstop Ronny Rodriguez then delivered a two out single to left scoring Moncrief. Arroyo got out of the inning, as he induced a fly out by left fielder Anthony , but the Mudcats cut the deficit in half to 2-1.
The Dash tacked on two more in the sixth off Rayl. First baseman Dan Black drew a walk with one out in the inning. The walk hurt Rayl, as the next batter, Shoemaker, hit a homer over the right field wall. Rayl then struck out Earley and induced a groundout by Shelton to end the inning and his night as the Dash took a 4-1 lead.
Rayl looked much better then in his previous two outings. He surrendered four runs over six innings, and he was effective throughout most of the game.
“He pitched well” said Rodriguez “His only big mistake was the two run homerun other then that though I thought he pitched really well.”
The Mudcats answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to 4-3. First baseman Jesus Aguilar led off the sixth with a single off the top of the wall in left. Shoemaker was able to play the ball perfectly off the wall and made a strong throw back into second to hold Aguilar at first. DH Jeremie Tice made the play irrelevant, driving a ball over the left field wall for his team leading tenth home run of the year.
Shawn Armstrong came in for Rayl in the seventh and the Dash got to him for a run right away, pushing their lead back up to two at 5-3. A one out walk to Silverio was costly for Armstrong. Wagner moved Silverio to second, as he grounded into a fielders choice. Silverio then scored on a single by shortstop Carlos Sanchez to left. Sanchez got caught in a run down as he strayed away from first as the throw came in from left and was tagged out after a short run down to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh Carolina manager Edwin Rodriguez and Winston-Salem Dash manager Tommy Thompson got in an argument. The argument seemed to boil over at the end of the seventh as both dugouts emptied. Cooler heads would prevail however as the argument never got beyond words. Rodriguez said this all started because “[Tommy Thompson] went out there and was concerned with Tony Wolters bat.” Rodriguez didn’t see this as an issue that should have been brought up as he said “it’s A ball just let them play”
The altercation may have ignited the Mudcats as they would tie the game at five in the eighth off reliever J.R Ballinger who had come in for Arroyo in the seventh. Aguilar led off the inning with a walk. Aguilar then moved to third on a double off the left field wall by Tice. Moncrief grounded out to first allowing Aguilar to score, and moved Tice to third. Tice then scored on a wild pitch. Following a single by Lowery, the Dash brought in Terrance Marin who was able to get out of the inning without further damage.
The Dash got those two runs back in the ninth to take the lead for good. Jose Flores, the Mudcat closer, came into the game to try to keep the game tied to give the Mudcats the opportunity to win it in the ninth but was unable to do so. A one out walk by Gonzalez got the rally started for the Dash. Silverio would then hit a ground rule double down the right field line moving Gonzalez to third. Trying to set up a double play opportunity an intentional walk was given to Wagner. However after the walk Sanchez singled scoring both Gonzalez and Silverio. Flores would get out of the inning without any more runs but the damage was done.
The Dash brought in Kyle Bellamy to close the game down and he did picking up the save.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez was level-headed about falling behind early. “It’s part of the game. You just have to fight back when that happens. In a long season it’s going to happen. You’re going to have streaks where you fall behind early. You have to just find a way to get back into the game. This team has shown the ability to fight back.”
The Mudcats will continue their series against the Dash on Sunday as they face off at 2:00 at Five County Stadium. The Mudcats will need to win the next two in order to gain a series split.