Mudcats lose key matchup to Salem Red Sox, 9-2
SALEM – The Carolina Mudcats fell into a huge hole early, and were never able to recover, falling to the Salem Red Sox 9-2 on Monday night. The loss dropped Carolina 29-26 in the second half and fall 1.5 games behind Salem for the final playoff position.
Starting pitcher Robert Whitenack took the mound for the Mudcats, and struggled from the beginning. Whitenack was only able to make it 2.2 innings, giving up eight runs, only three earned, on five hits to go along with three walks and two strikeouts. Whitenack was handed the loss to fall to 0-3 with the Mudcats.
Whitenack first ran into trouble in the second inning. After allowing a leadoff walk, an RBI triple scored the first run of the game. An RBI single to the next batter scored another run, still without an out in the inning. A groundout advanced the runner to second base with two outs, and a wild pitch by Whitenack allowed the runner to advance to third base. An error by Sabourin allowed a third run to score in the inning.
Carolina got a runner to third base for the first time in the game in the third inning as right fielder Logan Vick walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second after center fielder Jordan Smith walked. Second baseman Joey Wendle grounded into a double play, but Vick advanced to third. However, he was stranded there after third baseman Paddy Matera grounded out to end the inning.
Things completely fell apart for Whitenack in the third inning. After striking out the leadoff man, Whitenack allowed the second triple of the night. A walk put runners on the corners with one out, and Sabourin’s second error of the night allowed a run to score. The next batter grounded into a force out for the second out of the inning, but runners were at the corners.
After a stolen base put runners at second and third base with two outs, a walk loaded the bases. An RBI double cleared the bases to make the score 7-0. An error by shortstop Erik Gonzalez allowed another run to score, and another single put runners on first and second. That would be all for Whitenack, who was relieved by right handerJosh Martin, who entered and got the final out of the inning on a groundout.
Martin pitched 2.1 strong innings, allowing only one hit.
Carolina finally got on the board in the fifth inning when Lavisky doubled to lead-off the inning and Vick followed with a single to put runners on the corners with no outs. Smith followed with an RBI single to score Lavisky, but that would be all Carolina could muster in the inning.
The Mudcats got a second run in the sixth inning after the first Salem pitcher came out of the bullpen. Catcher Tony Wolters doubled to lead-off the inning, and advanced to third on a groundout by Gonzalez. Sabourin grounded out for the second out of the inning, but Wolters was able to score Carolina’s second run of the night.
Left hander Francisco Jimenez relieved Martin in the sixth inning, and after walking the leadoff man, escaped the inning thanks to an unassisted double play by Sabourin.
The seventh inning was not as kind to Jimenez. A lead-off double followed by a walk and a single loaded the bases with no outs. A groundout allowed a run to score, but runners were still at the corners with one out. A pop-out got the second out of the inning, but that was all Jimenez would get. Right hander Rob Nixon took over from there and got the final out of the inning.
Carolina was able to load the bases in the eighth inning, but was unable to score to get any closer.
The Mudcats finish the series against Salem on Tuesday night as right hander Cole Cook takes the mound to try to salvage a four-game split. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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.