Bats carry Mudcats past Salem for series win
Carolina started swinging and never looked back in 7-3 win over Red Sox
ZEBULON, NC - The Carolina Mudcats claimed a four-game series from the Salem Red Sox with a 7-3 win at Five County Stadium Sunday afternoon. It was the Mudcats third win in a row for the second time this year.
The Carolina offense has been swinging the bats well the past few days, said manager David Wallace, and a pitch-by-pitch mentality has helped the players stay focused.
“We’re literally taking each game apart piece-by-piece,” Wallace said. “For each at-bat, for each pitch, our motto is ‘win this pitch’—even from the offensive standpoint.”
Shawn Morimando started for Carolina and was replaced in the top of the fourth after struggling to control the Red Sox in the third. Right-hander Francisco Valera entered to earn his first win and pitch four scoreless innings with two hits, one walk and two strikeouts.
Left-hander Morimando didn’t have his best start of the year, Wallace noted, but the bullpen picked up the slack.
“Valera has done this a couple of times since he’s come up from Lake County,” Wallace said. “His overall numbers might not reflect how well he has pitched, but he saved the bullpen and that is not the first time he’s done that.”
The Mudcats tied the score quickly in the bottom of the first with a walk and a single from first baseman Jerrud Sabourin to score shortstop Francisco Lindor. Morimando retired three consecutive batters in the top of the second to lead to a two-run inning for the Mudcats. Right fielder Bo Greenwell had a leadoff homerun to right field, followed by a double from left fielder Bryson Myles to score second baseman Zach MacPhee.
Morimando struggled in the next inning despite the two-run advantage. He walked five batters to score shortstop Nick Natoli.
Carolina’s offense kept its momentum in the bottom of the third with a double from third baseman Paddy Matera and a single from Myles to bring the score to 4-2. Catcher Alex Lavisky singled to send Greenwell to third with one out but a pop-up from MacPhee ended the inning.
Valera entered in the top of the fourth and retired three consecutive batters. Neither the Red Sox nor the Mudcats made it on base in the fourth inning, Marrero walked in the top of the fifth but a double play got him out at second.
A leadoff single from Joe Wendle started off the bottom of the fifth and a homer from Matera sent him home two batters later. Greenwell then doubled and MacPhee walked but Carolina’s scoring was kept at two runs.
“Wendle has been absolutely on fire lately,” Wallace said. “He’s been working very hard at swinging at good pitches and not chasing balls out of the zone, and in the last few games it’s really paid off.”
Salem’s one hit in the top of the sixth was a double from third baseman Stefan Welch, but the Red Sox hitters were unable to capitalize on Valera’s pitches and make it past second. Wendle was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the sixth and stole second base but couldn’t make it home.
A double from Lindor and a single from Wendle added a final run for the Mudcats in the bottom of the eighth for a final score of 7-3.
Carolina is 7-9 in the second half and 29-57 overall. The Mudcats begin an eight-game road trip at Lynchburg Monday. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.