Sever walk helps Carolina Mudcats to comeback win against Dash
ZEBULON, N.C. – After an extended rain delay in the bottom of the sixth, the Carolina Mudcats rallied to win 5-4 against the Winston-Salem Dash Thursday night.
With the game tied at four runs apiece, Carolina took the lead in the bottom of the eighth thanks to patience in the batter's box and poor pitching from Winston-Salem. Three walks loaded the bases for the Mudcats and a fourth walk taken by Joe Sever scored the go ahead run that ultimately decided the game.
Manager Scooter Tucker said he was happy to get the win after being out-hit by the Dash.
"It wasn't real pretty, but guys kept themselves in the game, fought hard and we got a couple of breaks there at the end," Tucker said.
Carolina starter D.J. Brown hurled 4.1 innings and gave up four earned runs off of nine hits and one walk.
Tucker was displeased with his starter who did not pitch to his potential on Thursday.
"I didn't think that he was very sharp tonight," Tucker noted. "He just didn't have his best stuff tonight."
Winston-Salem had cruised to a 4-3 lead, but a rain delay interrupted the game in the bottom of the sixth. While the rain and lightening paused play for a significant amount of time, issues with the lights in the outfield added to the delay. The delay lasted for one hour and 22 minutes, officially.
Tucker noted that the extended delay required additional work to stay loose and prevent injury.
"A couple of guys got on bikes," said Tucker. "Guys just kind of kept themselves moving around."
It seemed to get Carolina going and helped to break the rhythm of the Dash.
Brad Goldberg came in to pitch for the Dash after the delay and immediately walked three consecutive Mudcats batters to load the bases. Things got worse for Winston-Salem as a Yhoxian Medina sent a ground ball up the middle that was misplayed by shortstop Tim Anderson which allowed Jeremy Lucas to score and tie the game.
With the bases loaded, Todd Hankins sent a first pitch down the line in left that had grand slam written all over it until the ball hooked foul at the last second. He would go on to strikeout and a Joe Sever pop up left three runners stranded, but Carolina had gained the momentum and started the comeback.
Tucker appreciated his players focus and felt that it contributed to the win after the long delay.
"Some guys just shut down mentally but our guys seemed to be fine with it and weren't too bad," Tucker explained.
Earlier in the game, Carolina starter D.J. Brown ran into some trouble in the first inning but stayed calm and pulled himself out of the jam. Jacob May earned a walk and Courtney Hawkins singled to left to set up a double steal that put two runners in scoring position for the Dash. The early opportunity was squandered after Jason Coats popped up to short and Joey DeMichele went down swinging.
The Mudcats couldn't keep Winston-Salem off the board for long as the Dash opened the scoring in the second inning with three consecutive hits against the right hander. A Tim Anderson double up the left field line plated Martin Medinaafter consecutive singles from the Dash.
The away team still had two runners in scoring position and threatened to add another run but Brown flashed some leather on a sharply hit ground ball up the middle and threw to first for the final out of the inning.
Carolina found an answer in the bottom half of the inning behind two big doubles. After a Yandy Diaz walk and a Jeremy Lucas single, Jerrud Sabourin sent a double down the left field line to score one and a double from Luigi Rodriguez scored two more.
The Dash got one run back in the following frame. Jason Coats singled to left and was moved to second on a fielding error of a Joey DeMichele ground ball. Keon Barnum brought Coats around to score with a single to right that cut the Mudcats' lead to 3-2.
Winston-Salem continued to roll and took the lead in the top of the fifth. A wild pitch from D.J. Brown negated a strike out of Courtney Hawkins which would prove costly. Jason Coats made the Mudcats pay with a double that scored Hawkins and tied the ball game at three runs apiece. A single from Joey DeMichele and a Keon Barnum double scored Coats for a 4-3 lead.
Brown was replaced by Michael Peoples who got Carolina out of the inning and set up the late come back.
Josh Martin (3-3) earned the win for the Mudcats after pitching 2.0 scoreless innings.
Elvis Araujo kept Winston-Salem off the board in the top of the ninth and picked up the save.
Winston-Salem starter Tony Bucciferro went 5.0 innings and surrendered three earned runs off of seven hits and one walk.
Brad Goldberg was credited with a blown save after giving up a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Euclides Leyer (1-2) gave up the winning run and took the loss for the Dash.
With the win, Carolina improves to 26-32 on the year.
Carolina is scheduled to travel to Winston-Salem to face the Dash again on Friday. Ryan Merritt is set to start for the Mudcats and is slated to take on Frank Montas.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.