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Carolina Mudcats take early lead, but lose 6-2 to Myrtle Beach

Carolina Mudcats take early lead, but lose 6-2 to Myrtle Beach
Photo credt: Tony Lastoria/IBI
May 24, 2014
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ZEBULON, N.C. – Just one night after playing arguably their most complete game of the season, the Carolina Mudcats let one get away on Saturday night as they fell to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 6-2.

For the night, the Mudcats committed three errors after they did not commit a single error Friday night.

Hitting coach Tony Mansolino, filling in during the absence of manager Scooter Tucker, said the team swung the bats well, but the defense just let them down. 

“We’ve been swinging the bats well,” said Mansolino. “More than anything, we don’t need to make a big deal out of our defense tonight. We’re in A-ball for a reason. They realize it, and their going to show up tomorrow and make the changes necessary.”

Left hander Shawn Morimando took the mound for Carolina and pitched a solid six innings, giving up only two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts. 

The start was Morimando’s fifth quality start of the young season.

Since allowing eight runs in just 1.1 innings May 8, Morimando has gone at least five innings and allowed no more than three runs in any of the three starts since.

Mansolino said Morimando has pitched well this season

“When hitters have a game they don’t get any hits, no one really notices,” said Mansolino. “But when a pitcher has a bad start or two, it’s very noticeable. He had a couple of bad games, but now he’s getting bat to his old self.” 

Morimando said he was very happy with his start and his progression through the season.

“I felt good overall,” said Morimando. “I just tried to keep the team in the game. Throw strikes and attack hitters.”

This is Morimando’s second season with the Mudcats, and he said he has made adjustments during his time in Zebulon that have really helped him grow as a pitcher.

“As a starting pitcher, I have four pitches I can throw for strikes,” said Morimando. “I have to go out there and show I know what I have no matter who I face. I think I did that tonight.”

After allowing back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on the corners, a sacrifice fly brought in a run, but that was all the Pelicans could manage thanks to a play at the plate on a throw from second baseman Todd Hankins as Myrtle Beach star Joey Gallo tried to score from second base.

Shortstop Yhoxian Medina opened the home half of the first with a battle against Pelicans starter Sam Wolff, which he eventually won with a single he slapped into center field. 

After Hankins sacrificed Medina to second base, designated hitter Alex Monsalve continued his recent hot streak with an RBI single to left field to tie the game. However, Monsalve and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin would be stranded when catcher Jeremy Lucas struck out to end the inning.

Sabourin, who went 3-4 in the game, said he has made some adjustments to his swing, and is getting back to his normal self since struggling for the better part of two weeks. 

“I’ve made some adjustments during BP to my swing,” said Sabourin. “I went through a stretch where I wasn’t hitting too good, but now I think I’m hitting the ball pretty well.”

The Mudcats jumped out front in the fourth inning and grabbed their first lead of the game at 2-1. After Monsalve and Sabourin led off the inning with back-to-back singles, third baseman James Roberts slapped a pitch over the first-base bag and down the line to bring Monsalve home and put runners on the corners. However, the runners were stranded as center fielder Luigi Rodriguez grounded out to end the inning.

As soon as the Mudcats took the lead, Myrtle Beach tied it up thanks to a one-out walk and scored from second on a two-out RBI single.

Right hander Rob Nixon relieved Morimando in the seventh inning and struggled from the beginning. In just two-thirds of an inning, Nixon surrendered four runs – two earned, on three hits and two walks. Nixon was also handed the loss, falling to 1-3 on the season.

A leadoff walk, followed by an infield single and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third. An error by Medina allowed both runners to score and the runner to reach safely. 

The Pelicans were far from done. After the runner stole second, an RBI single up the middle easily scored him. With two outs and two on, a single scored the runner from third, and that was it for Nixon.

Right hander Benny Suarez entered the game, and after walking the first batter he faced induced a pop up to finally bring the inning to a close after the Pelicans had scored four runs in a game that had been tied. 

Carolina is scheduled to return to action Sunday night. Right hander D.J. Brown gets the start for the Mudcats, looking to improve on his 2-4 record.

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.

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