Shawn Morimando leads Mudcats to win against Lynchburg, 8-3
ZEBULON, N.C. – The Carolina Mudcats rode a strong performance from starter Shawn Morimando on their way to a 8-3 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats on Tuesday night at Five County Stadium.
Morimando (8-2, 2.93 ERA) was credited with the win after tossing 5.0 innings in which he allowed only one earned run off of three hits and two walks.
"I felt good tonight," said Morimando. "I was pounding the strike zone, my defense played awesome behind me, and we scored runs."
Manager Scooter Tucker appreciated his starter's effort and ability to find the zone.
"It was a good pitching performance from Morimando," Tucker said. "He threw strikes and he wasn't walking guys. He was challenging the hitters."
Morimando was pulled going into the top of the sixth due to a rising pitch count which was the only negative during the south paw's start.
After the game, the fiery competitor lamented on his inability to find a strikeout pitch against the tough Lynchburg bats.
"I didn't really have that out-pitch tonight," said Morimando. "I was getting ahead but I was kind of missing a sharp breaking ball to get them out tonight."
Lucas Sims (6-6, 5.22 ERA) was pegged with a tough loss after hurling a no-hitter in his last outing. Lynchburg's tough right hander surrendered seven earned runs off of nine hits in just 4.0 innings. Sims gave up four walks but managed to fan five Carolina batters.
Tucker was pleased with his team's bats in addition to Morimando's success.
"We scored some runs and got ourselves ahead early so overall it was a really good game," Tucker noted.
The Mudcats opened the scoring in the bottom of the first to take an early one run lead. Center fielder Logan Vicktook a leadoff walk before being moved to third on a Joe Sever double to right. Yandy Diaz then grounded to short and gave Vick just enough time to reach home.
Lynchburg answered in the top of the third with a solo shot from Joseph Odom to tie the game up at one run apiece.
But Carolina would immediately get the run back thanks to three consecutive two-out singles. Yandy Diaz andJerrud Sabourin both singled to put runners on the corners and Alex Monsalve brought Diaz home with an RBI single up the middle.
The Mudcats tacked on five additional runs in the bottom of the fourth to stretch their lead to six runs. After two quick outs, Logan Vick singled to right and Yhoxian Medina earned a walk to set up the first scoring opportunity. Joe Sever singled to score Vick and send Medina to third.
Carolina would load the bases later in the inning and Alex Monsalve continued his stellar night with a bases clearing double that made it a 7-1 ballgame.
The Hillcats defense surrendered another two-out run in the following inning. Logan Vick took first on a walk and used his speed to steal second and reach scoring position. Yhoxian Medina followed it up with a sharply hit ball to third that was misplayed by third baseman Kevin Ahrens which allowed Vick to score.
Seven of the eight Carolina runs came with two outs which had to demoralize their opponent.
Clayton Cook picked up right where Morimando left off. Cook pitched 3.0 scoreless innings for the Mudcats and gave up only three hits and two walks while striking out two Lynchburg batters.
Grant Sides came in to close out the game in the ninth but found himself in a jam against a rallying Lynchburg team. A Will Skinner walk and a Levi Hyams single to right seemed to give the Hillcats some life. Joseph Odom earned a walk to load the bases and Eric Garcia used an RBI single to score Skinner. With the bases still loaded,David Nick grounded out to first but plated Hyams in the process to close the gap to 8-3.
But the Hillcats would not get any closer as Sides would force a David Carroll fly out to end the game.
Sides gave up two earned runs off of two hits and two walks.
Tucker acknowledged the difficulties of pitching the ninth inning in a blowout game and defended his reliever.
"It's always a challenge when you come into a lopsided game," explained Tucker. "I think at the beginning of the inning he was trying to find it, but he buried down in the end and we didn't have to use anybody else."
With the win, the Mudcats improve to 7-6 in the second half and 36-44 on the year. The loss drops Lynchburg to a record of 7-5 after the all-star break.
Carolina is scheduled to return to action on Wednesday to continue their home series with the Lynchburg Hillcats.Ryan Merritt (8-2, 1.58 ERA) is set to start for the Mudcats and will face Cody Scarpetta (2-1, 1.89 ERA).
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.