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Dominant arms carry Mudcats to 5-0 shutout

Dominant arms carry Mudcats to 5-0 shutout
Tony Wolters (Photo: Lianna Holub)
August 31, 2013
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LYNCHBURG – An absolutely dominant pitching performance by the Carolina Mudcats led them to a 5-0 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats on Friday night.  On the night, the Hillcats managed only two hits against the Carolina pitching. 

Right hander Robert Whitenack got the start for Carolina and dominated the Hillcats.  Whitenack did not give up a hit in his six innings pitched.  With the dominant performance, Whitenack picked up his first win with the Mudcats.

The only inning Whitenack struggled was the opening frame.  After a walk to the leadoff batter, who advanced to second on a steal, the second batter reached on a fielder’s choice when the lead runner was out a third.  A walk with one out put two runners on, but strikeout followed by a fly ball to right field ended the inning.

Carolina did not threaten until the third inning, when left fielder Todd Hankins walked to lead-off the inning, and proceeded to steal second base.  Center fielder Bryson Myles hit a sacrifice fly to advance Hankins to third base, and catcher Tony Wolters followed with an RBI groundout to score Hankins and give the Mudcats the advantage.

The Mudcats threatened again in the top of the fifth inning when designated hitter Alex Lavisky singled with one out, and Myles was hit by a pitch with two outs.  However, Wolters flew out to end the inning without bringing in a run.

After struggling through the first inning, Whitenack settled down to retire 12 consecutive batters before walking a batter with one out in the fifth inning.  However, two outs later, the runner had only advanced to second base and the inning was over.

Carolina broke the game open in the seventh inning by scoring four runs.  First baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled to lead-off the inning, and right fielder Logan Vick followed with a single of his own.  Lavisky grounded into a force out, with Sabourin being out at third, but two runners were still on base. After a pop-out by Hankins, two outs were on the board. 

A single by Myles loaded the bases, and Wolters slapped a bases-clearing single into left field, and advanced to second on an error by the left fielder. Second baseman Joey Wendle followed with an RBI single of his own to score Wolters, and give the Mudcats a five run lead, which proved to be the final margin.

Right hander Josh Martin relieved Whitenack in the seventh inning, and lost the no-hit bid with the first batter he faced, giving up a lead-off single. However, that runner proved to be no problem as the next batter grounded into a double play to clear the bases.

Martin pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only two hits to nail down his second save of the season.

Lynchburg attempted to break-up the shutout in the eighth inning. After getting two quick outs, Martin struck out the third batter of the inning, but allowed him to reach by throwing a wild pitch. The runner stole second and third, but was stranded there thanks to a fly out to end the inning.

Down to the final inning, Lynchburg hit a leadoff double, but that was all they could muster as the batter was stranded there thanks to three straight outs to end the game.

After winning three of four against Lynchburg, the Mudcats travel to Myrtle Beach to close the season.  Right hander Cole Cook takes the mound for the final time in the 2013 season in the series opener, with first pitch 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.

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