Mudcats lose fifth straight, fall to Blue Rocks 6-2
Three-run sixth spells doom for Carolina
WILMINGTON, DE- On Wednesday, the Carolina Mudcats dropped their season-high fifth straight game and were swept by the Wilmington Blue Rocks by a score of 6-2. The Mudcats struggled to get anything going offensively all day, ending the road trip 1-5 and 5-7 overall.
The game started out exactly like the Mudcats wanted it to. Designated hitter Tony Wolters slapped a double to center field with one out in the top of the first, followed by second baseman Joseph Wendle walking to put runners on first and second. Right fielder Jordan Smith singled to right field to knock in the first run of the game, putting the Mudcats up 1-0.
After allowing a leadoff walk and steal, starting pitcher Jacob Leeretired the next three batters to end any threat before it got started.
Catcher Jake Lowery walked to start off the Mudcats' half of the second inning, but the next batter up, third baseman Todd Hankins, struck out. Shortstop Justin Toole, starting in place of regular Francisco Lindor, hit into an inning-ending double play.
After Blue Rocks designated hitter Daniel Mateo singled to start the second inning, followed by a strikeout, first baseman Murray Watts reached on an error by Hankins to put two men on with only one out. A fly out to center gave the Blue Rocks two outs, but left fielder Tim Ferguson hit an RBI single to right field to tie the score at one run apiece at the end of the second inning.
The next seven consecutive Mudcats failed to reach base before Hankins singled with one out in the fifth inning. Toole followed this up with a strikeout, but Hankins was called out at first as well due to batter interference.
After a Blue Rocks pitching change in the top of the sixth inning, Wolters and Wendle walked to put two Mudcats on with only one out. However, a strikeout and groundout later, the inning was over, stranding two more runners.
Lee pitched a sharp third, fourth, and fifth innings, but the pitching got a little shaky in the sixth inning. After a single and double to start the inning, Lee surrendered an RBI single to allow the Blue Rocks to take their first lead of the game.
Lee then threw a wild pitch to allow another run home and the other runner to advance to second. Ferguson grounded out to put one away with only one runner aboard. However after another single, Lee was lifted for right-handed reliever Rob Nixon.
Nixon got the next batter to ground out, but a run scored to give the Blue Rocks a three run lead before the next two batters were retired.
Lee pitched five and a third innings, giving up eight hits, four runs (three earned), and walked three while only striking out two.
After a perfect seventh inning by both teams, the Mudcats cut into the lead by scoring one run in the eighth. Center fielder Tyler Naquin singled with one out in the top of the inning, and advanced to second on a groundout by Wolters. Wendle slapped a double to right field, allowing Naquin to score, though Smith grounded out to end the threat.
After a walk to start the inning, relief pitcher Grant Sides allowed an RBI triple, followed by an RBI single to the next two batters. The runner at first was caught attempting to steal second base to put one away. Sides retired two of the next three batters to end the eighth.
The Mudcats never got anything going against Blue Rocks reliever Kellen Moen to end the game.
Mudcats starting pitcher Jacob Lee was handed his first loss of the season. The Mudcats are still having trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-7 on Wednesday.
The Mudcats return to Five County Stadium on Thursday to begin a four game series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the first time these teams have met this season. Left hander Shawn Morimando gets the start as the Mudcats look to end their five-game losing streak. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15.
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.