Mudcats survive to beat Dash behind huge 2nd inning
Carolina scored 4 runs in the second behind a 2-run HR from Jeremy Lucas
WINSTON-SALEM, NC — Thanks to an early offensive surge, the Carolina Mudcats held on to defeat the Winston-Salem Dash 5-4 Sunday at BB&T Ballpark.
After the Dash jumped ahead with a run in the bottom of the first, the Mudcats stormed back with four runs of their own in the top of the second to grab a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Cole Sulser (3-7, 5.09) earned the win for the Mudcats despite allowing a run after facing just two batters. Winston-Salem leadoff man Jacob May opened the bottom of the first with a double to left, then put his team up 1-0 as Joey DeMichelefollowed with a base hit to centerfield.
But Carolina responded well to the early deficit as the Mudcats roughed up Dash starter Tony Bucciferro (6-6, 3.53) in the top of the second. After Yandy Diaz opened the frame with a single to center, Jeremy Lucas followed with his seventh homer of the season to put the Mudcats up 2-1. Bucciferro forced Luigi Rodriguez to groundout for the first out, but Carolina wasn’t done in the inning as Jerrud Sabourin singled for his first of three hits on the evening. James Roberts then reached on an infield single, with a throwing error by Dash shortstop Zach Voight allowed Sabourin to advance to third. Ryan Battaglia walked to load the bases, but Bucciferro struck out Logan Vick swinging for out number two.
However, Yhoxian Medina managed to extend Carolina’s lead on an infield single to second scoring Sabourin. The Mudcats added another run on the play after a second Winston-Salem throwing error, this one from the second baseman DeMichele, allowed Roberts to score putting the Mudcats up 4-1.
Winston-Salem cut into the Mudcats lead in the bottom of the third. Keenyn Walker earned a leadoff walk then stole second before May struck again off Sulser with a double to left scoring Walker. DeMichele then also walked, with May stealing third during the at-bat putting men on the corners. Jason Coats then brought the Dash within a run via a sacrifice fly to center as May crossed the plate to make it 4-3.
The three earned runs would be all Winston-Salem managed against Sulser, who went 6.0 innings in the victory. He allowed three hits and issued three walks while striking out six.
Carolina then doubled their lead with what would prove to be a vital insurance run in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Sabourin doubled to right before scoring on Roberts’s base hit to right for a 5-3 Carolina advantage.
The Mudcats generated all of their offense off Bucciferro, who took the loss after giving up five runs, four of which earned, on eight hits in 7.0 innings. The right-hander walked one and struck out five.
Winston-Salem made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh as the Mudcats sent Benny Suarez on in relief of Sulser. Voight drew a leadoff walk before Mike Marjama lined out to right. Walker then doubled down the leftfield line as the Dash put the tying run in scoring position. But Suarez escaped the jam with a pair of groundouts, although the first one from May did allow Voight to score as Winston-Salem drew within one going into the eighth.
Josh Martin preserved Carolina’s slim advantage pitching a scoreless eighth and setting up Elvis Araujo to close the door on the Dash in the ninth. The southpaw did just that, picking up his seventh save of the year by shutting out Winston-Salem in the final frame.
Carolina improves to 6-5 on the second half, tying them with the Dash for second in the Carolina League’s Southern Division.
The Mudcats will look to complete the three-game sweep of the Dash as the series wraps up Monday. Carolina is scheduled to start Adam Plutko while Winston-Salem will counter with Terance Marin in a battle of righties.
First pitch is set for 7:00 PM.