Mudcats set off lots of fireworks in 9-0 win over Salem
ZEBULON – On the final night of Independence Day extravaganza, the Carolina Mudcats wanted to provide fireworks all night, and did in a 9-0 win over the Salem Red Sox on Friday night. The win boosts Carolina’s record to 5-9 in the second half and 27-57 overall.
Starting pitcher Nick Pasquale dominated the Red Sox over seven innings, scattering only four hits and one walk. Pasquale also hit a batter, but did strike out three batters. Pasquale picked up his first win of the season, raising his record to 1-5.
Mudcats manager David Wallace was ecstatic about Pasquale’s performance.
“It’s a huge weight off of his shoulders” said Wallace. “His numbers don’t really reflect how we think he’s been pitching. Tonight, we probably could have let him pitch a complete game, but it’s something great for him to build on.”
Pasquale was also very happy with his performance.
“It’s nice to have the monkey off my back sure, but I know I’ve been pitching better than my numbers show," Pasquale said. "I just try to stay within myself and pitch like I can."
The Mudcats crushed out 13 hits on the night, and walked eight times. On the night, every Carolina starter reached base except for second baseman Joey Wendle. The team was led by center fielder Tyler Naquin who went 2-5 with two RBIs and right fielder Bo Greenwell who went 3-5 with three RBIs. Left fielder Bryson Myles also went 3-4 with two doubled, one RBI and scored three runs.
Coming off a terrible offensive performance, Wallace was very pleased with his team’s performance.
“We played a good game," Wallace said. "I think we had a little extra fire coming of the heels of last night, but we’re very happy how we did offensively. After playing like we did tonight, the key is to just do it again.”
Offensively, the Mudcats got things rolling early as Naquin walked to lead off the game. Shortstop Francisco Lindorgrounded to the second baseman, to get Naquin out at second, but Lindor reached on a fielder’s choice. CatcherTony Wolters singled, and Wendle walked to load the bases. However, back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning without allowing the run to score.
Pasquale ran into some trouble in the second inning. With one out, a hit by pitch followed by a single put runners on first and a second. However, a double play ended the inning without allowing a run to score.
Carolina took the lead in the second inning with one out thanks to an RBI single by Naquin. With Right fielderJordan Smith on third and third baseman Paddy Matera on first, Naquin smacked a single in to left field. Lindor followed with an RBI single of his own to score Matera. Lindor and Naquin advanced to second and third on the throw. Wolters hit a ground ball to first base, but reached as Naquin was thrown out at home, and a strikeout ended the inning.
For the third consecutive inning, the leadoff batter walked in the third inning, this time first baseman Jerrud Sabourin. Left fielder Bryson Myles smacked a double down the left field line to bring home the first run of the inning. With Smith at bat, Myles stole second base, and Smith walked to put runners on the corners. Smith later stole second with right fielder Bo Greenwell at bat and then Greenwell hit an RBI single up the middle to bring home another run. With one out, Naquin hit his second RBI single of the night before back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning.
With Sabourin and Myles on second and third thanks to back-to-back doubles and two outs in the fourth, Greenwell doubled off the right field wall to bring home two runs. Matera followed with an RBI single of his own to widen the margin.
The Mudcats lineup was juggled, moving Wolters to the three hole, Myles to the sixth spot and Smith to the seven spot in the order. Wallace said it’s all about who is swinging the bat the best and getting on base.
“We’ve been really happy with how Wolters has been swinging the bat, and it extends our lineup with the way Wendle has been swinging the bat in the four hole,” said Wallace. “It gives our guys a great bottom of the lineup, but we feel like we could put anyone anywhere in the lineup and do fine.”
Myles led off the sixth inning with a single, followed by a walk to Smith, and Greenwell followed with his third hit of the night. Four pitches later, Matera walked in a run. With Naquin at bat, Smith ran on a wild pitch, but was out at the plate. Back-to-back strikeouts by Naquin and Lindor ended the inning without allowing another run to score. Lindor was called out on an automatic strike when he would not enter the batter’s box in a timely manner.
Right hander Fabio Martinez replaced Pasquale after seven dominant innings. Martinez pitched two perfect innings to finish off the game. Wallace was very happy with Martinez’s performance.
“He did exactly what we’ve wanted him to do," Wallace said. "He attacked the hitters like we’ve wanted him to and look at his results. You don’t find many arms like his out there so hopefully he can continue with this.”
Carolina continues the series against Salem on Saturday. Right hander Cody Anderson gets the start for the 6:15 first pitch.
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.