Mudcats finish road trip with 3-0 win over Lynchburg
LYNCHBURG, VA - The Carolina Mudcats concluded their Virginia road trip with an impressive 3-0 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats on Thursday afternoon.
Mudcats’ starting pitcher Mike Rayl earned his third win behind a strong six inning performance featuring four strikeouts, two walks and only two hits. Reliever Trey Haley dominated during his two innings of work with no hits allowed and two strikeouts recorded.
Carolina first baseman Jesus Aguilar single-handedly provided the offense necessary for the Mudcats’ to get back to an even .500 record. In the top of the seventh inning, Aguilar came up to bat for the third time against Lynchburg starter Cody Martin. Martin previously struck out Aguilar and forced him to ground out into an inning ending double play.
With one out in the inning, Aguilar deposited a pitch from Martin high over the wall in left field for his fourth home run of the season giving the Mudcats a 1-0 lead. Martin finished the inning with no further runs allowed, but he was pulled in favor of reliever Andrew Wilson.
Wilson contributed a strong eighth inning where he retired the Mudcats’ in order keeping the game a manageable 1-0. Lynchburg wasn’t able to dig into Carolina’s slim lead in the bottom of the eighth and the game went to the final inning.
With an unusual move, Lynchburg decided against bringing Wilson back to the mound and instead brought in Hillcats’ closer Juan Jaime. Jaime quickly allowed Mudcats’ center fielder Tyler Holt to reached first base on a single to third.
Carolina second baseman Tony Wolters bunted into a force out that allowed a Mudcat to continue to occupy first base. Jaime forced Carolina left fielder Anthony Gallas to fly out to right field bringing Aguilar up to the plate.
With two outs and a runner at first, Aguilar made it a 3-0 ballgame with a two run shot to center field for his second home run of the game and his fifth of the year. Mudcats’ closer Dale Dickerson finished off the Hillcats in the bottom of the ninth capturing his first save of the year.
Carolina achieved their third shutout of the season and their second on the road. With a 13-13 record the Mudcats remain in last place in the Southern Division of the Carolina League, but things are beginning to look up for the young team.
Carolina will return home for a three game stretch against the Frederick Keys beginning Friday night at 7:05 p.m.