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Mudcats rolled by Blue Rocks, 8-1

Mudcats rolled by Blue Rocks, 8-1
Shawn Morimando (Photo: IBI)
May 3, 2014
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Zebulon, NC—Carolina fell 8-1 to the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Saturday in a game where nothing seemed to go right for the Mudcats. An error filled fourth inning summed up the disappointing performance for the home team.

The Blue Rocks took advantage of a struggling Shawn Morimondo and poor defense to put together five runs in the fourth. After a leadoff walk and a single from Kenny DiekroegerTerrance Gorelaid down a bunt that advanced the runners and allowed him to reach first, loading the bases. Raul Mondesi then reached first on a throwing error from James Roberts which cleared the bases and scored three runs.

Carolina’s struggles continued later in the inning with Wilmington’sBubba Starling at second and Hunter Dozier at first after a single and a walk. A wild pitch from Benny Suarezadvanced both runners who then scored on an RBI single from Johermyn Chavez.

Through four innings, Carolina had given up eight runs on seven hits and three errors and it only got worse from there.

Shawn Morimando (3-1, 2.51) suffered his first loss of the season after giving up eight runs on five hits in 3.2 innings. While only three of the runs were earned, Morimando was still disappointed with his performance.

Pitching Coach Steve Karsay attributed Morimando’s lackluster outing to the extra days off between starts due to weather.

“He threw a lot of pitches and mechanically I think he was out of rhythm today,” said Karsay. “Unfortunately when you have multiple days off in between starts, and you’re so used to having a rhythm every fifth day and staying on schedule, sometimes things can get tweaked and put you off.”

“He just wasn’t finishing his pitches tonight and he left some balls up in the zone. They found some holes and beat out some infield hits."

Blue Rock starter Christian Binford (2-1) carried a perfect game through four frames and earned the win after tossing 7.0 scoreless innings with zero earned runs on three hits while striking out eight.

The Mudcats, who typically jump out to early leads, found themselves in a hole early on Saturday night. Wilmington’s Raul Mondesi reached base on a leadoff single after beating out the throw at first on a ground ball to short. Bubba Starling followed it up with a moon shot to left that bounced off of the seventy-foot scoreboard for a home run.

Morimando then proceeded to walk Hunter Dozier which was followed by a Zane Evans double. With two runners in scoring position, Morimando held strong and recorded three consecutive outs to end the inning.

Wilmington struck again in the second inning due to a couple of costly errors from the Mudcats. Speedy left fielder Terrance Gore sent a bunt up the right field line that forced Carolina’s Jerrud Sabourin to misplay the ball as he came in from first base and Morimando then threw high on a pick-off attempt to first that allowed Gore to reach third. Mondesi doubled up the left field line to score Gore and make it 3-0.

Carolina finally reached base for the first time in the bottom of the fifth. Jeremy Lucas broke up Binford’s perfect game with a double to the gap in left center. Sabourin then singled up the middle to advance Lucas to third. Alex Monsalve hit into a double play to end the inning and leave the runners stranded.

James Roberts hit a leadoff single in the sixth and was moved to third after consecutive ground outs. Logan Vickfailed to capitalize on the RBI opportunity after he grounded out to short for the third and final out of the inning.

The fans at Five County Stadium were given something to cheer about late in the game. A home run from Torsten Boss in the ninth prevented Carolina from suffering their first shutout loss of the season.

An incredible diving catch by left fielder Anthony Gallas on a shallow fly ball also had the fans on their feet in the ninth.

The Mudcats ended the game with a total of five errors, which was more than their total number of hits (four).

Carolina’s bullpen was the one bright spot during the tough loss. They combined to hurl 5.1 scoreless innings while allowing only three hits and one walk.  

Karsay was pleased with the bullpen, especially considering the quick turnaround after pitching for eight innings in the previous outing.

“They were prepared and it’s nice to know that your bullpen can lock things down for a few innings and give your team an opportunity to come back and get back into the game.”

Unfortunately for Karsay and his bullpen, a lack of offensive firepower killed any chance of a comeback on Saturday.

The Mudcats (13-12) will look to bounce back on Sunday when they close out their series with Wilmington (12-14). Carolina’s D.J. Brown (2-0) will face the Blue Rock’s Daniel Stumpf (0-4).

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

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