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Mudcats rally late to upend Dash, 3-2

Carolina won on Sunday, despite being eliminated from playoff contention yesterday.

Mudcats rally late to upend Dash, 3-2
LeVon Washington went 2-for-3 with a RBI, scored a run and drew a walk in the come-from-behind win over Winston-Salem. (Photo credit: Tony Lastoria)
August 31, 2014
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ZEBULON, NC — One night after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Carolina Mudcats bounced back with a walk off win Sunday, downing the Winston-Salem Dash 3-2.

With two away in the bottom of the ninth and Logan Vick on second, Yhoxian Medina sent a chopper down the third base line, which Trey Michalczewski managed to backhand. Breaking on contact, Vick raced past a befuddled Michalczewski and turned home. The throw beat Vick to the plate, but the speedster dodged Michael Marjama’s tag to complete the wild walk off.

“It was probably a base running mistake on my part,” Vick admitted. “But then I saw him hold on to the ball a little too long and I just put my head down and tried to make the most of it, luckily the throw was high.”

Mudcats manager Scooter Tucker loved the excitement, especially after Saturday’s disappointment.

“Obviously, there’s one more but this was a great way to finish strong. As long as they’re keeping score it’s fun to win,” Tucker added.

Vick agreed Sunday’s wild finish was a great cap to the 2014 campaign: “I know we play tomorrow, but this in front of one of the biggest crowds in the last couple weeks is a great finish to go home to.”

Carolina starter Adam Plutko cruised early, but so did his counterpart Tyler Danish as the game remained a stalemate into the sixth.

In the top of the sixth, the Dash finally mounted a rally as consecutive one-out singles from Adam Engel and Cleuluis Rondon put men on the corners. Courtney Hawkins then popped up into foul territory behind home plate, with Ryan Battaglia making a routine catch for out number two. But Battaglia got greedy, and fired a bullet towards third looking to catch Engel napping. The throw hit a diving Engel in the back, sending the ball into leftfield allowing the Dash designated hitter who was able to score easily.

Keon Barnum then followed with a base knock up the middle, bringing in Rondon as Winston-Salem jumped in front 2-0.

Carolina responded in the home half, as Yandy Diaz tripled down the right field line then scored on LeVon Washington’s single as the Mudcats clawed back to make it 2-1.

This would be the only offense for the Mudcats against Danish, who earned no decision after giving up one earned run on four hits in 6.0 innings. He walked three and struck out four.

Plutko also took no decision, giving up two earned runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work. The right-hander fanned six and walked one.

Tucker praised the improvements Plutko has made recently, with the right-hander yielding just nine earned runs in his final five starts of the season.

“He’s been using his secondary pitches a lot better, his tempo has been better, really everything has been better,” said the skipper.   

The contest saw an unusual delay in the top of the seventh, as the emergency sirens at Five County Stadium began going off during play. After both managers and the umpires consulted with stadium officials, play quickly resumed.

The Dash turned to Raul Fernandez in relief, with the right-hander allowing Carolina back in the game in the bottom of the eighth. Washington earned a two-out walk then took second as Fernandez was called for a balk.Joe Sever then leveled the proceedings with a single to right knotting the score at 2-2. 

Winston-Salem used Brandon Hardin (0-2, 2.33) in the bottom of the ninth, with the right-hander taking the loss for allowing what was officially scored as an RBI single for Medina.

Jacob Lee (4-0, 2.99) picked up the win for the Muddies, going 2.2 shutout innings in which he allowed just three hits.

Carolina improves to 33-35 for the second half heading into Monday’s season finale, with Mike Clevinger (0-0, 5.40) set to start for the Mudcats Monday while the Dash will counter with J.B. Wendelken (6-10, 5.37).

First pitch is set for 12:00 PM. 

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