Mudcats squeeze out 4-3 win over Hillcats
Zebulon, NC—The Carolina Mudcats inched ever closer to the postseason with a 4-3 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats on Tuesday night at Five County Stadium.
A late rally from the Hillcats fell short as the Carolina bullpen held on to narrow lead that was created by a three run fifth inning.
After falling behind 2-1, Carolina reeled off three straight runs in the bottom of the fifth to surge past the away team. Jerrud Sabourin reached scoring position with a single to center and savvy base running after a Lucas Sims wild pitch. Alex Monsalve advanced Sabourin to third with a single of his own and a Torsten Boss walk loaded the bases to set the stage for a big inning.
Nate Hyatt was sent in to relieve Sims but the Lynchburg pitcher couldn’t pull his side out of the jam as Joe Sever poked a single to right to score Sabourin and tie the game. With the bases still loaded, LeVon Washington plated Monsalve with a base knock to take a one run lead.
The second wild pitch of the inning allowed Carolina’s Torsten Boss to come home and score what would be the game’s deciding run.
Lynchburg’s Levi Hyams would go on to score a run in the top of the eighth to cut it to 4-3, but the Carolina bullpen pulled together to keep the Hillcats from forcing extra innings.
The bullpen combined to throw 4.0 innings in which they allowed just one earned run off of two hits and one walk.
Josh Martin earned the save after striking out the side in the top of the ninth.
Carolina starter Adam Plutko (4-9, 4.17) was hit eight times across 5.0 innings but the right hander gave up only two earned runs to earn his fourth win of the year.
Lynchburg’s Lucas Sims (7-11, 4.36) shouldered the loss after he allowed four earned runs off of seven hits and three walks in 4.1 innings.
Tuesday night’s contest began as a back and forth affair with the away team striking first.
The Hillcats opened the scoring in the top of the first thanks to a Levi Hyams triple that sailed over the head of right fielder Torsten Boss. With Hyams on third, Kevin Ahrens knocked an RBI single to left to plate the first run of the game.
Jose Martinez attempted to build on the score with a single of his own, but a Tyler Tewell pop out ended the inning.
The Mudcats responded with a score in the bottom of the second inning to level the game at one run apiece. The hot-hitting right fielder, Torsten Boss, singled up the middle and then relied on poor play from Lynchburg’s Lucas Sims. The Hillcats starter allowed Boss to reach third base after a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first and a wild pitch during Joe Sever’s at-bat. Sims went on to hit Sever and surrender a sac fly to LeVon Washington that scored Boss from third.
James Roberts singled to left to move Sever to third, but a Logan Vick ground ball forced a double play that ended the inning.
The Hillcats regained the lead in the top of the fifth with another one run inning. Yeneir Bello reached base on an infield single and moved into scoring positoin thanks to an Eric Garcia single to right. Sean Godfrey capitalized on the scoring opportunity with an RBI double to right that made it 2-1.
Garcia was held at third which may have come back to haunt the Hillcats as they went on to suffer the one run defeat.
Tuesday night’s win comes as the fifth straight for Scooter Tucker’s ball club. The Mudcats improve to 32-31 during the second half and 61-69 on the year. Carolina now sits 1.5 games out of first and a half game out of the playoffs.
The Mudcats return to action on Wednesday as they continue their series with the Lynchburg Hillcats. Right hander Mike Clevinger is set to face Jarrett Miller in a battle of right handers.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.