Mudcats take series with 4-3 win vs. Dash
Zebulon, NC – After an impressive opening night win over the Winston Salem Dash, the Carolina Mudcats took the field Saturday night looking for a repeat showing.
Starting pitcher Jacob Lee made his Carolina League debut and started things off with a quick three strikeouts in the first inning. On the heels of a spectacular opening night debut, Mudcats leadoff hitter and centerfielder Tyler Naquin drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the first and came around to score after a double by right fielder Jordan Smith fell between the Dash’s left fielder and center fielder.
Both starters cruised through the next few innings and Lee had a no hitter through four innings until the top of the fifth when the Dash were able to get to him. Grant Buckner and Christ Curley hit back-to-back doubles with Curley bringing in Buckner with a double high off the 25 foot wal in center field to even up the score at 1-1.
In the bottom of the sixth inning Mudcats first baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled to left field and advanced to third when Bryson Myles hit a single that was bobbled by the centerfielder. The Mudcats kept right on rolling with an RBI single to rightfield by Joey Wendle that put the Mudcats back on top at 2-1.
Righty Grant Sides came into the game to pitch for the Mudcats in the seventh inning and Winston Salem's bottom portion of the lineup produced yet again when Mark Tracy, Mark Haddow and Buckner hit back-to-back singles. Buckner drove in a run with his single and brought the score to 2-2. On the next play Curley grounded out but drove in a run and pushed the score to 3-2 in favor of the Dash.
After singles by Sabourin and Myles in the bottom of the eighth, Wendle hit a fly ball to deep left field that the left fielder dropped which allowed both Sabourin and Myles to score. With the help of the Dash error the Mudcats had regained the lead and made the score 4-3.
In the top of the ninth the Mudcats brought in right-hander Jeff Johnson to close out the game. His Carolina League season debut included a strikeout, flyout and a spectacular diving save by top prospect and shortstop Francisco Lindor to end the game and secure a Mudcats victory.
“We played all 27 outs and we are proud of our guys, how they remained focused throughout the game and put them in the position to win," Carolina manager Dave Wallace said.
Lee allowed just one run in six innings of work for the Mudcats and recorded seven strikeouts. The winning pitcher Sides went two innings for the Mudcats and recorded two strikeouts and allowed two runs. Jeff Johnson got the save and allowed no runs and recorded one strikeout for the Mudcats.
With a 4-3 win on Satursday night the Mudcats took the first series of the season against the Winston Salem Dash. The Mudcats return to action at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, NC on Sunday at 2:00 pm looking to finish off a sweep of the Dash.