Mudcats rally in ninth to beat Dash, 3-1
Carolina was held scoreless for eight innings before scoring 3 runs in the ninth.
WINSTON-SALEM, NC — The Carolina Mudcats opened their three-game series against the Winston-Salem Dash with a 3-1 win Friday thanks to a furious ninth inning comeback.
After being held scoreless through the game’s first eight frames and trailing 1-0, Carolina’s bats came alive for three ninth-inning runs to steal the series opener from the hometown Dash.
Catcher Jeremy Lucas sparked the ninth inning explosion with a leadoff homerun, his sixth of the season, to tie the game at one a piece. Joe Sever and James Roberts followed with a pair of singles to put runners on the corners with no outs. Yhoxian Medina was next up, but the shortstop grounded into a fielder’s choice to keep runners on fist and third for Mudcats leadoff man LeVon Washington.
Dash reliever Sean Hagan allowed Medina to take second thanks to a wild pitch putting two Mudcats in scoring position for Washington. Although Hagan ultimately struck out Washington, a wild third strike got past Winston-Salem catcher Mike Marjama allowing Washington to reach first while Sever came in to score the game’s winning run.
Carolina added an insurance run as a Todd Hankins groundout brought in Medina to extend the Mudcats lead to 3-1.
The ninth inning rally saved Mudcats ace Ryan Merritt from what would have been an undeserved third loss of the season. The recently named Carolina League All-Star allowed just one run on six hits in 7.2 innings in which he struck out five while walking only one. However, Merritt left the game trailing 1-0 thanks to a strong outing from Dash starter Francellis Montas.
Montas was unlucky not to earn the win after striking out six Mudcats in seven scoreless innings. However, Montas did allow eight hits and got into several jams that Carolina was unable to capitalize on.
In the top of the second, a leadoff Anthony Gallas single followed by a walk to Lucas putting two on with nobody out. However, Montas retired Sever, Roberts, and Medina consecutively to end the inning.
The next inning, Carolina loaded the bases with one out thanks to singles from Washington, Hankins and Yandy Diaz. But Montas again regained his composure to strikeout Gallas, and force Lucas to groundout preserving the shutout.
The Mudcats ran Montas from the game as Washington and Hankins both singled to begin the eighth. A wild pitch from reliever Kyle Hansen (2-3, 3.52 ERA) put two in scoring position with nobody out, but Hansen retired Gonzalez, Diaz, and Gallas to end the inning before falling apart in the ninth to earn the loss.
Elvis Araujo earned his fifth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning as the Mudcats snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Friday’s win was the third victory this season for Scooter Tucker’s club when trailing after eight innings.
The win improves Carolina to 27-32 on the season while Winston-Salem falls to 25-36.