Rally falls short for Carolina Mudcats in 5-4 loss to Lynchburg
LYNCHBURG, Va. — The Carolina Mudcats found themselves playing catch-up for almost all of Monday’s 5-4 loss to the Lynchburg Hillcats.
Carolina’s pitchers struggled with their control in the defeat, throwing four wild pitches that resulted in three Lynchburg runs.
These control issues appeared early as Lynchburg jumped on Mudcats starter Shawn Morimando (8-3, 3.20 ERA) early. Eric Garcia opened the bottom of the first with a single to left then moved into scoring position on Morimando’s first wild pitch. With one out, a Jose Martinez single up the middle brought in Garcia as the Hillcats grabbed an early 1-0 lead.
The Hillcats doubled their advantage an inning later as a wild pitch again came back to bite Morimando. After a Will Skinner walk and Tyler Tewell pop out, Morimando’s wild pitch to Emerson Landoni allowed Skinner to advance all the way to third. Landoni quickly made Morimando pay singled to center to put Lynchburg up 2-0.
The Mudcats battled back drawing level in the top of the third. Hillcats starter Cody Scarpetta plunked James Roberts to open the frame before a Luigi Rodriguez bunt single as a Scarpetta throwing error allowed Roberts to take third. Logan Vick then walked to load the bases before Erik Gonzalez was retired on strikes. Carolina then drew level on Joe Sever’s grounder to short. Lynchburg got the force at second, but Garcia’s errant throw form second to first allowed Rodriguez to follow Roberts home and tie the game at 2.
But Lynchburg immediately stormed back ahead in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff triple from David Nickfollowed by a Martinez double quickly put the Hillcats back on top. Martinez then stole third, later scoring on Levi Hyams’s groundout to first as Lynchburg doubled up the Mudcats 4-2.
Following Lynchburg threatening again in the fourth, Scooter Tucker pulled Morimando after just 4.0 innings. The lefty gave up four earned runs on a season-high seven hits while walking a pair and striking out four as Morimando took his first loss since May 8.
Scarpetta earned his third win of the year for Lynchburg after his 5.0 inning start Monday. He allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits while striking out six and yielding three walks.
Lynchburg added a vital insurance run off reliever Jacob Lee in the bottom of the seventh. Garcia opened with a single, then advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt from Lee. Carolina gave Garcia another base as the second baseman then moved to third on a passed ball. Lee then completing the gifting of the run as Garcia scored on the third Mudcats wild pitch of the evening to make it 5-2.
The Mudcats made things interesting cutting into the Lynchburg lead in the top of the eighth. An error allowed the leadoff man, Sever, to reach before Yandy Diaz’s base hit to right put two on with nobody out. Hillcats reliever Nate Hyatt then buckled down retiring Jeremy Lucas and grounding Jerrud Sabourin into a force out. With men on the corners and two away, Alex Monsalve came through with an RBI single to right ending Hyatt’s evening. The Mudcats then added another as Lynchburg’s new pitcher, Alex Wilson, was called for a balk allowing Sabourin to score as Carolina drew within a run.
Debutante Ben Heller kept the Mudcats close striking out a pair as he quickly retired the Hillcats in the top of the ninth.
But Heller’s effort was in vain as Lynchburg closer Alex Wilson retired the side in order to pick up his ninth save of the season.
Carolina falls to 10-9 on the second half and 39-47 overall. The Hillcats improve to 9-9 since the All-Star break to sit at 43-45 for all of 2014.