ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (16-12) pulled out a 4-2 win against the Lynchburg Hillcats (14-14) on a rainy night at Five County Stadium.
For the second straight night the start of the game would be delayed as a rain storm pushed the start time back 31 minutes and then caused the game to end after the eighth. The Mudcats pitchers didn’t mind, as for the second straight night they turned in a great performance.
Mike Rayl turned in a solid start for the Mudcats, going six innings and surrendering two runs on seven hits to pick up his sixth win of the year. “Rayl had a good outing tonight. His fastball was working and then he threw a lot of change ups, and when his change up is working like it was tonight it really helps his fastball.”
The Mudcats bullpen shut down things after Rayl left as reliever. Brett Brach, who was just sent down from Double A Akron, tossed one and a third scoreless innings. Cole Cook recorded the final two outs of the game to pick up the save before the game was ended early.
The Mudcat offense awas led by centerfielder Carlos Moncrief’s two-hit, two RBI night in which both his knocks came with two outs in the inning. The Mudcats would score all their runs off two out hits as left fielder Anthony Gallas and right fielder Bo Greenwell also had two out RBI hits.
The two-out RBI didn’t impress manager Rodriguez. “That’s a sign of a good ball club, when you come up with two out RBI’s. You have to get to a point where regardless of outs you can put together a rally and get some runs and we did that tonight.”
All four of the Mudcats runs would come off Hillcat starter Aaron Northcraft.
For the second straight game the Mudcats struck in the first. After Northcraft got the first two hitters of the game on just three pitches, he would run into trouble. Third baseman Giovanny Urshela got the rally started, as he doubled down the left field line. Following a walk to first baseman Jesus Aguilar, right fielder Carlos Moncrief came through with a RBI single to center to score Urshela.
The Hillcats quickly brought the game back to even as right fielder David Rohm came up with a two out single to drive in third baseman and former rumored Tribe prospect, Edward Salcedo in the top of the second. Salcedo singled to left with one out in the inning and then stole second to put himself in scoring position for Catcher Braeden Schlehuber. Schlehuber pushed Salcedo over to third on a groundout to short, allowing Salcedo to easily score on the single by Rohm to center.
Moncrief and left fielder Anthony Gallas both came up with clutch two out hits to put the Mudcats back ahead in the third. Right fielder Bo Greenwell led off the inning with a single and following a flyout by Urshela. Greenwell woulmoved to third on a groundout out by Aguilar. Moncrief then came up with his second two out knock of the game, as he drove a single to right which allowed Greenwell to come around to score. Moncrief stole second base with Gallas batting and then would be able to come around himself as Gallas drove a ball into the right center gap putting the Mudcats up 3-1.
Another two out rally, this one in the fourth, allowed the Mudcats to tack on another run to their lead. Shortstop Tony Wolters got it started with double to left giving Greenwell an RBI opportunity. Greenwell took advantage with a single to left, as Wolters was able to slide in safely just ahead of the throw.
The Hillcats pulled back within two in the sixth as they pushed across a run in Rayl’s last inning of work. Left fielder Dan Brewer doubled to left center with one out and then came around to score on a single by DH Adam Milligan.
The Hillcats would never be able to get anything going against the Mudcat bullpen and eventually the rain would cost the Hillcats a final chance in the ninth.
The Mudcats will look for the series sweep as they square off against the Hillcats at 2:00 at Five County Stadium.