Mudcats snap losing streak, beat Pelicans 5-1
Morimando's dominant outing ends Mudcat's losing streak at five
ZEBULON, NC-After a horrible first road trip of the season, the Carolina Mudcats did something they had not done in five games: win.
The Mudcats jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 5-1 win in the first game of a four game series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Thursday night.
Mudcats manager David Wallace said it was a big win for the Mudcats coming off of a five-game losing streak. “Obviously, it makes the atmosphere in the clubhouse better. I’ve been really happy with how we’ve played, but it’s nice to get a win.”
Mudcats starting pitcher Shawn Morimando pitched six strong innings, giving up only four hits. After walking eight batters combined in his first two starts of the season, his command was much better, walking no one and striking out three. He picked up his first win of the season bringing his record to 1-1.
About his performance, Morimando said “I think I pitched very well. I was able to get some good pitches and get the win.”
Morimando realizes it was a total team effort. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates behind me. We got some really nice defensive plays during the game that saved some runs.”
The game couldn’t have started out any better for the Mudcats. Center fielder Tyler Naquin was able to start off the inning on base after being hit by a pitch. Shortstop Francisco Lindor crushed a double to deep center field to put runners on second and third base with nobody out. Right fielder Jordan Smith followed that up with an RBI single to score the first run of the game. The very next batter, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin hit an RBI single of his own to give the Mudcats a two-run lead.
If the first inning was a great way to start the game, things went crazy in the second inning.
Catcher Charlie Valerio reached with one out in the second inning on a fielding error on the Myrtle Beach first baseman. The next batter, second baseman Todd Hankins, reached after being clipped by a pitch to put runners on first and second with only one out. Third baseman Justin Toole hit a soft ground ball to second base, but reached second on a throwing error which allowed Valerio to score. Hankins added another run on an RBI groundout by Naquin. Toole added the final run of the inning on a wild pitch to give the Mudcats a 5-0 lead.
All three runs scored in the second inning were unearned.
Wallace was very happy with his team's performance, especially the second inning. “It was a wild inning. We put together some good at-bats and came out on top.”
Morimando started very strong, breezing through the first three innings. However, he ran into trouble in the fourth inning. With runners on first and third and nobody out, Morimando induced a foul pop-up down the third base line for the first out. The very next batter grounded into an inning ending double play to end the threat.
After the second inning, neither team really got anything going offensively, that is until the eighth inning. Lindor led off the inning with a shot to dead center field that led to a stand-up triple. Sabourin walked to put runners on the corners with only one out. However, the next batter, designated hitter Anthony Gallas hit a ground ball that led to an inning-ending double play.
Once the game settled down after the second inning, there were some very nice defensive plays to keep runners off the bases. Naquin ran all over the outfield, making a running basket catch behind left fielder Bryson Myles in the fifth innings that no one had any right being able to get to. Sabourin also was able to snag a rocket line drive down the first base line in the seventh inning.
Trouble started in the top of the ninth inning after relief pitcher Enosil Tejeda gave up back-to-back doubles to start off the inning. The next two batters struck out to bring up what could have been the final out. A passed ball during the next at-bat allowed the Pelicans to score the cut the lead to four. With a runner on third and two outs, Tejeda walked the next batter and hit the one after that to load the bases with two outs. Tejeda was able to induce a pop-out to the next batter to end the game.
The Mudcats continue their eight game homestand on Friday with the second game of this four game series against the Pelicans. Right-handed starting pitcher Will Roberts will get the start for a 7:15 first pitch.
Notes: Lindor extended his Carolina League lead in two statistical categories. Lindor stole his sixth base of the season in the first inning, while his leadoff triple in the eighth inning gave him three on the season.
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.