Mudcats split doubleheader in Salem
Pasquale dominates game one while bats go quiet in game two
SALEM – The Carolina Mudcats took game one of a doubleheader against the Salem Red Sox 7-1 on Sunday afternoon before dropping game two 3-1. The doubleheader split keeps the Mudcats a half game out of the wildcard spot in the playoff race behind Salem.
Starting pitcher Nick Pasquale got the start in game one and dominated Salem over six innings, scattering five hits and allowing only one run. The strong performance earned Pasquale his fifth win of the season, raising his record to 5-7 overall.
Carolina struck first, taking a two run lead in the second inning. Designated hitter Tony Wolters led off the inning with a walk, and shortstop Erik Gonzalez followed with a single. First baseman Jerrud Sabourin grounded out to advance the runners. Catcher Alex Lavisky drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to score Wolters. After right fielder Logan Vick walked, center fielder Jordan Smith smashed an RBI double down the left field line to drive in Gonzalez.
After the second inning, Salem starting pitcher Kyle Stroup was taken out and the game was turned over to the bullpen.
Carolina jumped all over the new pitcher from the beginning. Third baseman Paddy Matera walked to lead off the inning, and with one out Wolters walked to put two on base. Gonzalez ripped an RBI double to center field to score Matera. With two outs, Vick hit a two-RBI single to score Wolters and Gonzalez. Smith followed with a two-RBI double to drive in Sabourin and Vick to give Carolina a seven run lead after three innings.
Pasquale did not struggle at all on the day. The only run he surrendered was a solo home run to right field with two outs in the sixth inning. After allowing the home run, Pasquale gave up back-to-back singles to put two Red Sox on for the first time since the first inning. However, a groundout to the next batter ended the inning to get the Mudcats out of the jam.
Game two did not go Carolina’s way, falling to Salem 3-1.
Right hander Owen Dew got the spot start for Carolina and struggled from the beginning. Dew went just two innings, giving up three runs on four hits. The rough outing handed Dew the loss, his seventh of the season, dropping his record to 3-7.
Dew struggled from the first batter, allowing a leadoff home run. After the home run, Dew allowed a single to the very next batter, but was able to retire the next three batters to get out of the inning.
The second inning was no easier for Dew, as he gave up two runs in the inning. A leadoff single, coupled with a stolen base put a runner on second base with no outs. An RBI single by the next brought in the second run of the night for Salem. A stolen base put a runner on second base, and a ground out advanced the runner to third base. A walk put runners on the corners with one out, and a sacrifice fly brought in the second run of the inning. The third stolen base of the inning by Salem put a runner on second base again, but a strikeout ended the inning.
Right hander Francisco Valera took over for Carolina in the third inning and pitched three no hit innings, allowing only a walk.
Carolina attempted to rally in the fourth inning, thanks in part to a Salem error. After second baseman Joey Wendle walked with one out in the inning, Salem threw a pickoff attempt to first base. However, the pickoff was wide and got away from the first baseman. Wendle raced around to third base, and Matera hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the Mudcats first run of the game.
The Mudcats had one final rally in the seventh inning. Matera singled to lead-off the inning, but after left fielder Bryson Myles flew out for the first out, Wolters grounded into a force out for the second out of the inning. Gonzalez followed with a single to put runners on first and second with two outs. However, Sabourin grounded out to end the inning and the threat.
Carolina looks to bounce back against Salem on Monday night. Right hander Robert Whitenack takes the mound for the Mudcats. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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.