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Merritt, Mudcats rally to beat Blue Rocks 3-2

Ryan Merritt improved his record to 6-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.60.

Merritt, Mudcats rally to beat Blue Rocks 3-2
Carolina third baseman James Roberts went 1-for-3 with a RBI, run scored and a walk in the Mudcat win. (Photo credit: Tony Lastoria)
May 23, 2014
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WILMINGTON, DE - Ryan Merritt and the Carolina Mudcats ended a recent slump by beating the Wilmington Blue Rocks 3-2 on Thursday morning. A three-run fourth inning and another pitching gem from Merritt paved the way to victory for the Mudcats.

After falling behind by two runs early, Carolina found their bats in the top of the fourth to rally. Jerrud Sabourin and Luigi Rodriguez got things started with back-to-back singles and were both moved to second and third on a ground out from Alex MonsalveJames Roberts capitalized with a single to score Sabourin and Torsten Boss followed it up with a single to score Rodriguez tying the game at 2-2. Another clutch single from Todd Hankins scored Roberts from second to take the lead at 3-2. 

All scores during the inning came with two outs. The big inning would prove to be all the offense that the Mudcats needed in a game that was dominated by effective pitching. 

Ryan Merritt (6-1, 1.60) earned the win after a long outing at the mound. Merrit tossed 98 pitches in 7.1 innings of play, while allowing only one earned run on six hits and two walks. 

Elvis Araujo was credited with his third save of the year after pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. The left-hander allowed only one hit while striking out two batters. 

Wilmington's Daniel Stumpf (1-7, 4.19) surrendered three earned runs off nine hits in 5.0 innings of play en route to the loss. The Blue Rocks bullpen pitched a combined 4.0 hitless and scoreless innings of relief. 

The Blue Rocks took advantage of an early fielding error to jump out to a first inning lead. Jack Lopez reached base on a fielding error from Roberts and was advanced to third by a Bubba Starling single to set up the score. Hunter Dozier belted a sac fly to deep right that gave Lopez time to tag and score to make it 1-0. 

Lopez added another run in the bottom of the third to extend Wilmington's lead. After a single to reach base, Lopez took third on another Starling single. In a near mirror image of the first inning, Hunter Dozier sent another sac fly to right to score Lopez for the second run of the game.

Wilmington would be held to only four hits during the remaining six innings and would not score for the rest of the ball game. 

James Roberts continued to stay hot by going 1-for-3 with a RBI and a run. He is now batting .304, which is third best among Mudcats batters with at least twenty attempts. 

Carolina (21-23) returns home to Five County Stadium in Zebulon on Friday to take on the league leading Myrtle Beach Pelicans (29-16). Looking for his first win of the season, Cole Sulser (0-4) is set to start for the Mudcats and will take on Luis Parra (4-2).

Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.

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