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Mudcats drop third straight in 7-4 loss to Frederick

Mudcats drop third straight in 7-4 loss to Frederick
May 4, 2013
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ZEBULON- A back and forth contest got out of hand late, as the Carolina Mudcats lost to the Frederick Keys 7-4 on Saturday night.  The loss was the Mudcats third straight and their seventh out of their last ten, which dropped their record to 11-18 on the season.

Command issues troubled Mudcats pitchers all night.  As a staff, Carolina walked seven batters overall.  Mudcats manager David Wallace sees there is work to be done with the pitching staff’s command issue.  “It’s an issue that needs to be addressed.  Starters and bullpen guys have good stuff.  They just need to go out there and trust their stuff and challenge those guys.  Just say here it is, see what you can do with it.”

Making his debut for the Mudcats after starting the season on the disabled list, pitcher Elvis Araujo breezed through the first three innings and retired the first nine batters he faced before walking the leadoff man in the fourth inning.  Araujo’s final line of the night was four and two-thirds innings pitched, two hits, three runs, only one earned, three walks and three strikeouts.

Wallace was pleased with Araujo’s start.  “He did well, threw strikes.  It got away from him there at the end but I thought he did a good job.”

Carolina struck first by scoring two runs in the second inning to take the lead.  Catcher Charlie Valerio drove a pitch to deep center for a double with one out.  Left fielder Luigi Rodriguez singled to put runners on the corners with one out.  Third baseman Justin Toole hit a sacrifice fly to center field, but was able to reach base on an error by the Frederick center fielder when he dropped the ball.  Both Valerio and Rodriguez were able to score on the error.

The Keys committed four errors on the night.  In the last two games, the Keys have committed eight errors against the Mudcats, but Carolina has been largely unable to take advantage of the miscues.

“We need to take better advantage of it.  When we have them down, just stick the dagger in them and finish the game,” said Wallace.

Frederick took the lead for the first time in the game during the fourth inning, while recording only one hit.  Araujo walked the leadoff batter, who advanced to second on a wild pitch.  With one out, Mudcats first baseman Jerrud Sabourin went to field a ground ball, but the ball slipped right under his glove and into right field to allow the Keys to score their first run.  Another walk put runners on first and second still with only one out, and another wild pitch allowed the runners to advance to second and third.  A ground out to shortstop Francisco Lindor allowed another run to score to tie the game, and a bunt single allowed a third run to score and the Keys to take the lead.

Rodriguez led off the fourth inning with his first triple of the season into right field that caromed off the wall and away from the Frederick right fielder.  With one out, second baseman Zack MacPhee hit a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Rodriguez to score and the Mudcats to tie the game.

 With one out in the fifth inning, Lindor singled to right field.  Sabourin hit a routine ground ball to second base, but it was bobbled and everyone was safe.  Lindor took off for third base on the error, and the Frederick pitcher threw to third to attempt to record the out.  However, the throw was wide and sailed into the Mudcats bullpen, which allowed Lindor to score the go-ahead run.  Right fielder Jordan Smith singled to right field with Sabourin at second base.  Sabourin attempted to score on the single, but was thrown out at home plate by the Keys right fielder.

With right hander Rob Nixon pitching for the Mudcats, a single and a double put runners on second and third with nobody out.  A ground out to MacPhee at second base allowed the tying run to come in during the seventh inning.  With a runner at third base, a flare was hit into short right field that brought in the go-ahead run with two outs in the inning.

After walking the first batter of the eighth inning, right handed reliever Grant Sides induced a fly out to right field before inducing an inning ending double play without allowing any more runs to score.

With one out in the eighth, down by one, and Valerio at first base, Toole hit a ground ball to third base.  Valerio was thrown out at second base, but the throw from the Frederick second baseman skipped past first base and to the wall, which allowed Toole to go to second.  A wild pitch let Toole take third base with two outs, however MacPhee grounded out to second base to end the inning and the threat.

With Sides still pitching in the ninth inning, the Keys loaded the bases without a hit, but with two walks and a hit batsman.  A hit to shallow center field that no one could get to allowed one run to score.  Center fielder Tyler Naquin ran from dead center field almost to the infield dirt for the first out of the inning.  Left hander Francisco Jimenez relieved Sides and induced a ground ball that was thrown home to prevent another run from scoring.  However, Jimenez walked the next batter with the bases loaded to bring in another run that stretched the Keys lead to three heading into bottom of the ninth.

The game showed some great defense.  MacPhee timed his jump perfectly to grab a line drive from entering right field for the first out of the second inning.  Lindor showed off his range to end the second by running towards third base and firing a strike to first for the out.  Keys shortstop Sammie Starr grabbed a couple of sure-fire hits out of the air to keep Mudcats off the bases. 

The Mudcats close the series against the Keys on Sunday at Five County Stadium.  Left hander Shawn Morimando gets the start for a 2:00 first pitch.

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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