Mudcats fall 3-1 to Blue Rocks
Carolina falls despite strong effort from Peoples
WILMINGTON – A second straight strong outing by a Mudcats starting pitcher wasn't enough as the Carolina Mudcats fell to the Wilmington Blue Rocks 3-1 on Tuesday night. With the loss, Carolina falls to 20-37 on the season.
With the game tied headed into the eighth inning, Mudcats relievers JD Reichenbach and Rob Nixon allowed the Blue Rocks to score two runs to take the lead for good. Reichenbach was handed the loss, which dropped him to 3-3 on the season.
Making his second start for the Mudcats, starting pitcher Michael Peoples dominated the Blue Rocks through 6 1/3 innings. Peoples gave up one run on only four hits to go along with two walks with four strikeouts. The one run allowed was in the seventh inning on two hits before being lifted. After allowing Wilmington to tie the game in the seventh inning, Peoples was given a no decision.
The Mudcats were able to strike first in the third inning. With one out, center fielder Tyler Naquin singled, and was sacrificed to second base on a bunt by shortstop Francisco Lindor. Second baseman Joey Wendle hit an RBI single with two outs to score Naquin. Wendle was able to advance to second on the throw, but was stranded there to end the inning.
Before allowing a base hit to begin the fifth inning, Peoples had retired ten consecutive batters. That hit was just the second hit allowed on the night by Peoples. However, that runner was immediately wiped away after the very next batter grounded into a double play.
A true pitcher's duel, both starters allowed only four hits apiece and one run apiece. The Blue Rocks' bullpen was able to keep up the strong pitching for their team, but the Carolina bullpen could not do the same.
Each of the top four batters in the Carolina lineup reached base with a hit apiece, but no other Mudcats were able to reach base on the night. The four total hits were the fewest for the Mudcats on the season.
Lindor broke an 0-for-6 streak with a single to begin the sixth inning and advanced to second base on a passed ball. Wendle walked, but first baseman Jerrud Sabourin grounded into a double play to for two quick outs in the inning. Lindor advanced to third on the play, but could not score as right fielder Jordan Smith grounded out to end the inning.
After having near spotless control for the majority of the game, Peoples began to struggle in the sixth inning. With one out, Peoples walked a batter on five pitches, and then fell behind 2-0 to the next batter. However, Peoples was able to regain control to retire the next two batters to end the inning without allowing a run to score.
Peoples allowed a triple to the first batter of the seventh inning to put the tying run in scoring position with nobody out. A strikeout put one away, but an RBI double tied the game at one run apiece. Left hander JD Reichenbach relieved Peoples with one out in the inning. After striking the first batter he faced, Reichenbach intentionally walked the next batter, who popped-out to end the inning with the score tied.
Reichenbach struck out the first batter of the eighth on a wild pitch, which allowed the runner to reach safely. A bunt single put runners on the corners with nobody out. Nobody was covering third base on the play, which allowed the runner to safely reach third on the play. An intentional walk loaded the bases making a force out at any base possible.
Right-hander Rob Nixon relieved Reichenbach and immediately gave up an RBI single to allow the go-ahead run to score and to keep the bases loaded. A wild pitch allowed a second run to score in the inning.
Wendle, Sabourin, and Smith went down in order to end the game without a threat.
Carolina continues the series against Wilmington on Wednesday night. Right hander Nick-Pasquale gets the start for the Mudcats against the Blue Rocks. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.
Zachary is a senior at NC State where he is majoring in communication-media, with minors in journalism and theatre. You can follow him on Twitter @RealZachFrancis.