ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (29-33) fell to the Salem Red Sox to lose the series (22-38).
A disastrous sixth inning would lead to the Mudcats loss as the Sox put up eight runs in the inning all of which came with two outs in the inning. You have to pitch to contact. We had a three run lead, no body on and two outs. We just have to learn that in that situation you need to pitch to contact it’s that easy” said Manager Edwin Rodriguez.
Benny Suarez made the start for the Mudcats after being called up from Rookie ball in the Arizona league where had made nine appearances. Suarez would only last three and two third innings as he was pulled after getting himself in a jam in the fourth. However he did look good in his debut as he only gave up one run on four hits. “Suarez was outstanding. He was on a pitch count, so it was a shame that we had to take him out when we did” said Rodriguez.
The Mudcats bats started the game off well as they were able to get to Sox starter Matt Barnes early as they scored two in the first and one in both the third and fourth to chase Barnes from the game early. Barnes only lasted four innings as he was charged with four runs on six hits. “He has been throwing good all year. We were able to score four runs and when you face a pitcher like that and you get a lead like we did you have to keep the lead” said Rodriguez.
The First three Mudcats reached in the bottom of the first leading to two first inning runs as the Mudcats took an early lead over the Sox. Shortstop Tony Wolters and second baseman Justin Toole, for the third straight game, got on base to start off the first. With Wolters on second and Toole on first, third baseman Giovanny Urshela lined a single to center to bring home Wolters for the first run of the game. DH Ronny Rodriguez then hit a deep fly ball to right that would allow Toole to tag up and move to third. First baseman Tyler Cannon then took advantage of this as he drove a ball deep enough to right to allow Toole to tag up and score.
A lead off double by Wolters in the third led to the third run of the day for the Mudcats. Toole recorded a productive out as he grounded out to second to push Wolters over to third with one out. Urshela was unable to take advantage as he popped out to catcher Carson Blair leaving it up to Rodriguez to come up with a two out hit. Rodriguez did just that as he drove a liner to left to bring home Wolters as the Mudcats went up 3-0.
The Sox put together their first threat of the game as they got three straight one out singles to load up the bases for second baseman Sean Coyle. Suarez got Coyle to pop out to second to give him the opportunity to get out of the inning, however he walked the next the batter in Carson Blair to push home the Sox first run of the day making the score 3-1. After the walk the Mudcats turned to their bullpen as J.D Reichenbach was brought into the game to face first baseman David Renfroe. Reichenbach got the Mudcats out of the jam as he got Renfroe to groundout to second to end the inning.
The Mudcats answered right back in the bottom of fourth to push the lead back up to three. Center fielder LeVon Washington, making his Mudcats debut, drew a one out walk. Following a fly out, Wolters picked up his third hit of the game as he drove a double down the right field line moving Washington to third. Then with Toole batting Barnes uncorked a wild pitch allowing Washington to come in to score the Mudcats fourth run.
The Red Sox scored eight runs in the sixth, as the Sox put together a lengthy two out rally. Left fielder Drew Hedman singled to right to start the rally. Hedman then stole second and third with Coyle batting, which allowed him to score on Coyle’s infield single. Reichenbach then made an errant pick-off attempt to first allowing Coyle to move to second. Reichenbach then walked Blair. Renfroe singled to left to drive in Coyle to cut the lead to one. Right fielder Lucas Leblanc then came up with the big knock as he hit a gapper into left center to bring home both Blair and Renfroe. Following another walk to shortstop Heiker Meneses the Mudcats pulled Reichenbach in favor Fabio Martinez who would not fair any better. Martinez walked DH Alberto Ibarra to load up the bases. Martinez then uncorked two wild pitches with third baseman Michael Almanzar batting allowing Leblanc then Meneses to score and moving Ibarra to third. Almanzar ended up drawing a walk to bring center fielder Brandon Jacobs to the plate. With Jacobs batting Almanzar attempted to steal, the throw from catcher Alex Monsalve sailed into center allowing Ibarra to score. Jacobs smacked a double to deep center to bring home Almanzar. Martinez finally got out of the inning as he got Hedman who had started the rally to fly out to right but the damage was done as the Mudcats were not behind 9-4.
The Mudcats got one back in the seventh as a lead off single by center fielder Delvi Cid would end up culminating in a run. After a pop out by Wolters, Cid would steal second and then score on a single to left by Toole.
The Mudcats will look to regroup on Monday as they have the night off before they head into their last home series against the Potomac Nationals starting on Tuesday night at 7:15 at Five County Stadium.