Pasquale pitches Mudcats to 7-2 series win
WINSTON-SALEM - The Carolina Mudcats jumped out in front early and never looked back, defeating the Winston Salem Dash 7-2 Friday night. The win continued Carolina’s season-high win streak to six games. Carolina (19-14, 41-62) moved to a season-high five games over .500 for the second half.
The win clinched a series win in Winston-Salem for Carolina. The series win was the first for a Cleveland Indians Advanced-A affiliate against the Dash since 2007, a span of 17 series.
Eight of Carolina’s nine batters recorded at least one hit on the night, five of which recorded multiple hits, led by right fielder Jordan Smith. Smith collected four hits on the night, including a triple and a solo home run.
Starting pitcher Nick Pasquale took the mound for Carolina and dominated the Dash lineup through seven innings. On the night, Pasquale allowed only one unearned run on three hits. While throwing only 92 pitches, Pasquale struck out three and walked only one. The dominant performance gave Pasquale the win, improving his record to 3-6 with Carolina.
For the second-straight night, Carolina was able to jump out to a three-run lead before Winston-Salem ever came up to bat. Center fielder Tyler Naquin singled to lead off the game and came around to score. After advancing to second base on an error, left fielder Bryson Myles laced an RBI double to left center to bring home Naquin. Smith followed with a ball to the deepest part of the ballpark for an RBI triple to give Carolina a two-run lead still with nobody out. With one out, catcher Tony Wolters hit an RBI single to center field to bring home Smith.
Despite allowing two runners to scoring position with two outs, Pasquale was able to escape the jam in the bottom of the first by inducing an inning ending pop-up.
Playing in his first since coming off the disabled list earlier in the week, designated hitter Charlie Valerio ripped a double down the right field line, advanced to third on a groundout by first baseman Jerrud Sabourin, and came into score on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Justin Toole to add to the Carolina lead.
Four innings was all Winston-Salem starting pitcher Jason Van Skike went after allowing four runs, three earned on seven hits. Van Skike also walked one, but struck out three.
With two outs in the fifth inning, second baseman Joe Wendle crushed a double to deep left field, and stole third base without a throw from anyone. However, third base was as far as he would get, as Wolters struck out looking to end the inning.
Carolina added to their lead in the sixth inning when Sabourin and Toole hit back-to-back singles with two outs. Naquin followed with an RBI single to score Sabourin to bump the Mudcats’ lead to five.
Pasquale retired 15 consecutive batters until allowing a single with one out in the sixth inning. After allowing that single, a wild pitch advanced the runner to second base, and a stolen base put a runner on third with two outs. The shutout was spoiled when Sabourin let a ground ball get by to bring home the runner.
Three consecutive singles by Smith, Wendle, and Wolters with one out in the seventh inning allowed Carolina to bring the lead back to five.
Right-hander Louis Head relieved Pasquale in the eighth inning, pitching two innings in relief, giving up one run on two hits to close out the game.
Smith put the proverbial nail in the coffin with a solo home run to right field with two out in the ninth inning to give Carolina a six run lead.
The Dash attempted a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, a one out single, followed by an RBI double. However, the runner attempted to stretch a double to a triple, and was thrown out at third base, which proved to Winston Salem’s final hope, as a strikeout by the next batter ended the game.
Carolina goes for the four game sweep against Winston Salem on Saturday night. Right-hander Cole Cook gets the start and looks to stretch the Mudcats’ season high win streak to seven games. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
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.