Carolina comes up on short end of slugfest 8-7
Colon struggles as bats can't keep up with Dash
ZEBULON – The Carolina Mudcats fell behind early, and despite a fervent rally fell to the Winston Salem Dash 8-7 on Saturday night. The loss drops Carolina’s record to 13-14 in the second half and 35-62 overall.
Down 8-6 entering the ninth inning, second baseman Joey Wendle and third baseman Paddy Matera hit back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. Catcher Tony Wolters followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third with one out. Designated hitter Bryson Myles followed with a towering sacrifice fly to deep left-center to bring Carolina within one, but a pop out by first baseman Jerrud Sabourin ended the game.
Mudcats manager David Wallace was pleased with his team’s performance, despite the loss.
Wallace said, “It’s a great lesson. You’ve got to be ready to play from the first pitch. Some of the mistakes we made early came back to bite us.”
Right hander Joe Colon took the mound for the Mudcats and struggled through five innings, giving up five runs, four earned, on 10 hits. Colon did strike out six while walking only one. Colon was handed the loss, dropping his record with Carolina to 1-3.
Wallace was impressed by Colon’s outing despite what the numbers show.
“I think he pitched a better game than what it looked like. He wasn’t the sharpest, with his defense letting him down a little bit, and their guys just found some good pitches to hit,” said Wallace.
Carolina got things going early offensively as the first three batters reached base to load the bases with no outs. Center fielder Tyler Naquin singled to lead off the inning, followed by a walk to right fielder Jordan Smith and a single by left fielder Bo Greenwell. However, the next three batters were unable to bring home any of the runners to end the inning.
Winston Salem got on the board first after a walk and a single put runners on first and third with nobody out. An RBI single down the left field line gave the Dash the lead with runners at first and second. A strikeout on a wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third, and an RBI fielder’s choice brought in the second run of the inning.
Colon got into a jam in the third inning after allowing a double and a hit batsman put runners on first and second with only one out. However a strikeout got the second out of the inning, but the next batter singled to right field. The runner from second base was sent home, but Smith threw a strike home to get the runner at the plate to end the inning.
Winston Salem added to the lead in the fourth inning. A leadoff single followed by an RBI double allowed a run to score. However, the throw from the double to left field was cut off by shortstop Justin Toole, who threw it wide home for an error. The runner advanced to third on the error. A throwing error by Matera put runners on first and third, still with no outs. A single brought home a second run in the inning to put runners on first and second.
A fly ball to center field advanced a runner to third base to put runners on the corners with only one out. An RBI single scored the third and final run of the inning.
Carolina finally got on the board in the fifth inning on a home run by Myles to left field with one out.
Myles has been on a tear as of late, with the walk-off home run in the 14th inning on Thursday night, and going 2-3 with four RBIs on the night Saturday.
Wallace was so happy with Myles’ performance.
“I thought his last hit had a chance, like everybody else did. I’m really happy with his approach, laying off of some pitches he normally would have gone after. He’s really maturing at the plate,” said Wallace.
Myles is crediting his success to seeing the ball better and having more confidence at the plate.
“I’m seeing the ball better, but I’m just trying to do my job by knocking a couple of runs in. I thought for a split second my last shot was gone, but I got under it a little bit. It was an exciting game, and unfortunately we came up just a little short,” said Myles.
Colon was relieved in the sixth inning by right hander Cody Penny. Penny, a native of North Carolina, was making his Mudcats debut.
Wendle walked to lead off the sixth inning, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Wolters reached on an infield single. The throw from the shortstop sailed into the Winston Salem dugout, allowing Wendle to score.
Penny cruised through his first inning of work in the sixth, but ran into trouble during the seventh. With two on and two out, Penny gave up a three-run home run to widen the lead to six.
With one out in the seventh inning, Naquin and Smith walked to put runners on first and second. Greenwell hit a ground ball to the Winston Salem second baseman, who booted the ball into right field, which allowed Naquin to score. Wendle was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out.
After a pitching change, Matera hit an RBI sacrifice fly to score Smith. With runners on first and second, a wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third with two outs. Wolters walked after a nine-pitch at-bat to load the bases for the second time in the inning. Myles crushed the first pitch he saw down the left field line for a two-RBI double to bring Carolina within two to end the inning.
Penny was replaced in the eighth inning by left hander JD Reichenbach. Penny pitched two innings, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk. Reichenbach followed with two perfect innings.
Carolina opens a series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Sunday. Right hander Nick Pasquale takes the mound for the 4:00 first pitch.
Notes: Naquin got his first hit in 22 at-bats with his single in the first inning… The two runs allowed in the second inning broke an 18 inning scoreless streak by the Dash against the Mudcats…
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.