Mudcats split doubleheader with Pelicans
Mudcats fall 3-2 in first game but earn 6-3 win in second contest
ZEBULON- Let’s play two! The Carolina Mudcats and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans took Ernie Banks’ famous words to heart on Saturday as the teams played a double-header at Five County Stadium.
After the Pelicans picked up a 3-2 win in the first game, the Carolina Mudcats gave up a three-run lead and lost the second game 6-3. This was the third time in the last two seasons the Mudcats have been swept in a doubleheader by the Pelicans.
Manager David Wallace was obviously not happy with the team’s performance, but he still believes in his team.
“These guys know what they need to do to get themselves ready to play. It’s part of the long season. We’re going to have games where their pitcher gets the best of us. But we’re going to continue with what we do.”
The Mudcats wanted to make sure they didn’t fall behind in the second game as they did in the first. After designated hitter Tyler Naquin struck out to begin the game, shortstop Francisco Lindor hit a double down the left field line and proceeded to steal third for his Carolina League leading seventh steal of the season. Second baseman Joey Wendle hit an RBI double off the center field wall to score Lindor and give the Mudcats the early advantage. After first baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled to put runners on the corner, still with only one out, right fielder Jordan Smith hit an RBI single to shallow center that allowed Wendle to score to give the Mudcats a two-run lead to end the inning.
Jake Lowery hit a solo home run, his first of the season, to lead off the second inning and give the Mudcats a three-run cushion in the second inning.
In his first start of the season, Mudcats starting pitcher Michael Goodnight hit the first batter he faced, but retired the next six batters in a row without allowing another base runner until the third inning.
After a walk and a single, third baseman Justin Toole got the force out at third for the first out. A groundout advanced the runners to second and third, and an RBI single allowed the Pelicans to climb within one run to end the third inning.
Goodnight’s final line was three innings pitched, two hits and two runs, both earned.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Mudcats reliever Owen Dew allowed a single and threw a wild pitch to allow the runner to advance to second. Dew then allowed a soaring home run to right center to give the Pelicans a one-run lead.
The Mudcats attempted a comeback in the bottom of the fourth when Lowery hit a single to start the inning. Toole hit a single that advanced Lowery to third, but a throwing error forced him to try to score, and he was thrown out. With Toole on second base thanks to the throwing error, Naquin struck out for the second time in the game. Lindor and Wendle walked to load the bases with two outs. However, Sabourin grounded out to end the inning and strand the the bases loaded.
Dew allowed a second two-run homer in the fifth inning to allow the Pelicans to extend their lead to three.
With one out in the fifth inning, Gallas was hit by a pitch, and a wild pitch allowed him advance to second base. A walk to Myles put runners on first and second, still with only one out. However, a strikeout and fly out to center field followed to end the inning.
Naquin collected his first hit of the day, but Lindor grounded into a fielder’s choice to wipe Naquin off the bases. Second baseman Todd Hankins hit a fly out to right field for the second out. On a wild pitch, Lindor attempted to take second base, but was caught in a rundown to end the inning.
In the first game, the Mudcats gave up three runs in the second inning on back-to-back singles, a wild pitch, an infield RBI, a throwing error, and an RBI single.
The Mudcats attempted to put together a rally in the fifth inning.
Mudcats starter was handed his third straight loss to start the season after throwing five innings, giving up five hits, three runs, all earned, but striking out seven.
Both games were played seven innings apiece.
“We need to make better decisions on the bases,” Wallace said. “We were a little over aggressive in places we didn’t need to be. We need to make better decisions.”
The teams will meet again in the series finale on Sunday. The Mudcats will send right-hander Jordan Cooper to the mound for a 2:00 first pitch.
NOTES: Lindor extended his Carolina League lead in stolen bases by stealing third base in the first inning of the second game… Wendle was lifted in the top of the fifth inning after being hit in the face with a ball. While covering second base, the Pelicans attempted a steal and Lowery attempted to throw him out. Attempting to apply the tag, the ball popped out of his glove and hit him below the eye. Todd Hankins replaced him in the field.
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.