Mudcats split doubleheader with Blue Rocks
Carolina managed to earn the split even after squandering a lead late in game two.
WILMINGTON, DE — The Carolina Mudcats and Wilmington Blue Rocks split a doubleheader Friday after rain postponed the series’ opening game originally scheduled for Thursday.
Wilmington shutout the Mudcats 6-0 in game one, but Carolina was able to salvage a split after an extra frame squeaking out a 4-3 win in game two.
The Mudcats fell behind quickly in game one and never recovered as the Blue Rocks roughed up Carolina starter Cole Sulser (2-6, 4.29 ERA) early.
After Wilmington leadoff man Jack Lopez reached on a Yandy Diaz error to begin the bottom of the first, Bubba Sterling doubled to put a pair in scoring position for Hunter Dozier. The third baseman belted his fourth homer of the season as Sulser and the Mudcats found themselves down 3-0 after facing just three Blue Rocks batters.
Sulser settled down to give the Mudcats a decent start, going 5.0 innings allowing just the three early runs, two of which earned, on three hits. The right-hander struck out three and didn’t issue a walk, but took the loss after receiving no run support.
Carolina managed just three hits in the first game of the twin bill as Blue Rocks starter Christian Binford (4-3, 2.19) breezed through the Mudcats lineup. Binford went 6.0 innings striking out five while also not issuing a walk.
Although they wouldn’t be needed, Wilmington added three insurance runs off Clayton Cook to double their lead in the bottom of the sixth. With two on, Michael Antonio reached on a force attempt before Diaz’s second error of the game allowed Dozier to score making it 4-0. Cam Gallagher followed with a single to center, loading the bases for Kenny Diekroeger. Diekroeger earned a walk off Cook plating Corey Stubbs. The next batter, Daniel Rockett, added Wilmington’s final run on a sacrifice fly to left.
However, Scooter Tucker’s club managed to earn the split even after squandering a lead late in game two.
Mudcats starter Adam Plutko silenced the Wilmington lineup going 6.0 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, while yielding just three hits and four walks.
Carolina struck for two more runs off Santos and Wilmington in the sixth. Jeremy Lucas doubled to leadoff the inning and advanced to third as Jerrud Sabourin grounded out. Santos then intentionally walked Joe Sever to put Mudcats on the corners for Alex Monsalve. The catcher’s single brought in Lucas while Sever took third and Monsalve advanced to second on an error by Blue Rocks left fielder Terrance Gore. With Washington batting, Sever scored on a wild pitch from Santos.
With Carolina up 3-0 headed to the seventh and final scheduled inning, Plutko appeared to be headed for his second win with the Mudcats. But an implosion from reliever Elvis Araujo allowed Wilmington back in the game and saddled Plutko with a no decision.
Araujo opened the bottom of the seventh by walking Zane Evans, who advanced to second on a wild pitch to the next batter, Mark Donato. Araujo got Donato swinging on strike three, but it was another wild pitch past Monsalve allowing Donato to reach first as Evans moved up to third.
Rockett then scored Evans on a base hit to right for Wilmington’s first run. With runners on the corners for Diekroeger, Araujo threw yet another wild pitch as Donato came in to draw the Blue Rocks within one. Although Diekroeger grounded out, Wilmington drew level on a Gore single. Araujo almost earned the loss to go along with the blown save, but Carolina escaped the inning as the Blue Rocks left the winning run in scoring position.
Carolina regained the lead quickly in the extra frame on a pair of doubles to right off Yender Caramo (1-4, 3.05). First, Lucas doubled before Sabourin drove him in for a 4-3 advantage.
After getting the final out of the seventh, Grant Sides (1-0, 2.70) closed out the Blue Rocks in the eighth as the Mudcats narrowly avoided a major meltdown.
After Friday’s action the Mudcats are now 29-36 on the season while Wilmington sits at 31-35.