Plutko, Carolina Mudcats cruise to 5-1 win against Salem
SALEM, Va. –– The Carolina Mudcats and Adam Plutko cruised to a decisive 5-1 victory over the Salem Red Sox on Tuesday night. A deadly combination of quality pitching and hitting paved the way for the Mudcats as they snapped their six game losing streak.
Carolina starter Adam Plutko (3-5, 4.38) was dominant on his way to the win. The right hander took the mound for 7.0 innings in which he allowed just one earned run off of five hits. The former UCLA standout managed to fan four Red Sox batters without giving up a single walk.
The Mudcats pounded Salem starter Joe Gunkel (2-4, 3.83) through the first six innings of the game. Gunkel took the loss after he allowed four earned runs off of ten hits during that span.
In the first inning, Carolina used back to back singles from Yhoxian Medina and Joe Sever to put runners on the corners. Yandy Diaz capitalized on the early scoring opportunity by poking an RBI single into right to score Medina from third.
Carolina added to it with two more scores in the top of the third. Joe Sever quickly reached scoring position after a single to right and a Yandy Diaz ground out. An RBI single from Jeremy Lucas scored the first baseman to put Carolina on top 2-0. LeVon Washington and Luigi Rodriguez followed it up with consecutive singles that brought Lucas around to score.
Gunkel's night got worse in the top of the sixth thanks to a defensive mishap from catcher Carson Blair. With two outs and LeVon Washington at second base, Gunkel forced Ryan Battaglia to pop up which should have ended the inning. But Blair failed to make the catch as the ball carried down the third base line and Washington scored yet another run for the Mudcats.
Carolina scored an insurance run in the top of the seventh off relief pitcher Jacob Dahlstrand. The Mudcats loaded the bases behind an error from Dahlstrand, a Joe Sever walk, and a single from Yandy Diaz. Jeremy Lucas singled to bring in Carolina's final run of the game.
Jacob Lee entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and kept the Red Sox from reaching base over the final two frames. Lee added two strike outs during his relief effort.
The Red Sox scored their only run in the bottom of the third after Matty Johnson singled and then used his world class speed to race around the bases. Adam Plutko attempted to pick off the center fielder but a poor throw allowed Johnson to take second base. During the same at-bat, Plutko threw a wild pitch that got away from Ryan Battaglia. The Carolina catcher was charged with an error on the throw home which allowed Johnson to score easily.
But the lone Salem score proved meaningless on a night where the Mudcats were clicking on all cylinders.
The win brings Carolina to 20-18 during the second half and 49-56 on the year.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.