Mudcats losing streak hits six
ZEBULON - The Carolina Mudcats (22-27) losing streak continued Monday and has now reached six games after a 4-3 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (24-25).
A two out rally in the fourth by the Blue Rocks proved to be too much for the Mudcats to overcome. The Mudcats took an early 2-0 lead as they scored twice in the bottom of the second but were unable to hold on to it as the Blue Rocks quickly struck back in the top of the third scoring two of their own and then took the lead in the fourth for good.
Mudcat starter Michael Goodnight turned in one of his better outings as he struck out a season high nine batters over seven innings while giving up four runs. Kyle Petter also pitched well out of the bullpen pitching two scoreless innings.
“Mike Goodnight did a very good job," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "He had the one mistake that resulted in a two run home run but other then that he looked good and so did Kyle Petter.”
The Mudcats put together a little two out rally in the second to put up the first runs of the game and take an early 2-0 lead off Blue Rock starter Leondy Perez. Designated hitter Justin Toole started the rally with a double down the right field line. Catcher Tyler Cannon then came up and singled to left allowing Toole to come in to score the games first run. Center fielder Tyler Holt then reached on a bunt single, and when first baseman Brian Fletcher fielded the bunt and made an errant throw to first it allowed Cannon to move to third which proved costly for the Blue Rocks. Perez threw a wild pitch during the next at bat that allowed Cannon to come in to score.
The Blue Rocks quickly erased their deficit tying the game at two. Four straight hits to lead off the inning allowed the Blue Rocks to put up two runs in the top of the third. A lead off double by second baseman Luis Piterson got the inning started. The double was followed by a bunt single by shortstop Angel Franco moving Piterson to third. Right Fielder Geulin Beltre then drove a ball off the left field wall. Left fielder Anthony Gallas did a good job acting that he had a chance to catch the fly ball, so when the ball did hit the wall Piterson was the only one able to score as Franco had to hold up on the play and was only able to move up to second as Beltre had to settle for a wall ball single. Goodnight bounced back as he got the next three batters in order striking out two and getting an infield pop out to limit the damage.
The Blue Rocks put together their own two out rally in the fourth. Following a bloop single to left by Piterson, Franco drove a homer over the left field wall to give the Blue Rocks a 4-2 lead. The Blue Rocks looked to continue the rally as Beltre reached on an infield single following the home run and then center fielder Brett Eibner struck a ball to deep center, Holt was able to sprint back all the way to the warning track to make a great catch to save a run and end the inning.
Wolters hit his first home run of the year in the fifth inning with a solo shot off the scoreboard in right that cut the deficit to one at 4-3. Following the home run by Wolters, right fielder Carlos Moncrief drove a single to right. After a fly out by Tice, Urshela drove a single into left center. On the play Moncrief was able to head to third however when the throw came in from the outfield it got away from Piterson at second. Moncrief tried to score as Piterson scrambled to retrieve the ball, but Piterson was able to get to the ball and make a strong throw to cut down Moncrief at home to keep the Blue Rocks ahead going into the sixth.
That inning would be the last real scoring opportunity for the Mudcats as the Blue Rock bullpen came in and didn’t allow the Mudcats to get anything going. Greg Billo led the bullpen as he pitched two scoreless innings and then gave way to Chase Boruff who came in and closed the game in the ninth.
Rodriguez said after the game, “We have to keep playing hard. Today we played a good game, you just have to tip your hat they played better.”
The Mudcats will have another opportunity on Tuesday to stop the losing streak as they again take on the Wilmington Blue Rocks at 7:15 at Five County Stadium.