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Thursday, May 27, 2010

West Tenn ties series with Mudcats after scary moment early on

Posted by on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 11:42 PM

Carolina Mudcats pitcher Alexander Smit
  • Photo by Nikolaus © 2010 Carolina Mudcats
  • Carolina Mudcats pitcher Alexander Smit
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Once again the Carolina Mudcats have a chance to keep their momentum going.

They go into the second game of a five-game home set on a little winning streak, and have pulled to within two games of .500.

The opponent is the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, who are in second place in the Southern League’s North Division now only 1 ½ games ahead of the Mudcats.

Dustin Ackley, taken by the Seattle Mariners with the second pick in last June’s draft, is West Tenn’s second baseman while the manager is Tim Laker who was an original Triple-A Durham Bull in 1998. Carl Willis, who lives in Durham now, is also in the dugout as a roving pitching instructor for the Mariners' organization.

It’s a warm and cloudy night, with Dutch lefty Alexander Smit (1-2) on the hill against West Tenn’s Michael Pineda (3-1). The Diamond Jaxx even the series, outhitting the Mudcats 12-9 in a 7-4 win.

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Daniel Paladini's last-gasp goal saves the day; RailHawks top Puerto Rico 2-1

Posted by on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 12:56 AM

Daniel Paladini
  • Carolina RailHawks
  • Daniel Paladini
WEBCAST—Wow. It's too early to declare a trend, but for this night at least, it appears that last year's RailHawks, second-place finishers in USL-1, have finally reconvened after a very long off-season.

Shaking off a lackadaisical start to a campaign that had seen them garner only five points from five games, the RailHawks managed to steal a victory against one of Division 2's best teams in one of the toughest stadiums in the Northern Hemisphere: the Juan Ramón Loubriel in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, home of the mighty Islanders.

And the hero couldn't have been more appropriate: Daniel Paladini, last year's team MVP, who has struggled to hold a regular place thus far this season. He came on as a late substitute and scored off a low drive from a spot kick just outside the area about 35 yards out, in the last play of the game.

The strike was reminiscent of Paladini's late game-winner a year ago at WakeMed Soccer Park against the Cleveland City Stars: Again, his kick, taken slightly to the left of the goal, slithered through a crowded box, perhaps taking an anonymous deflection or two before finding the net. Tonight in Puerto Rico, Paladini took his shot, then raced back to midfield along the touchline where he was tackled by jubilant teammates. The five minutes of stoppage time were up, and the referee went peep-peep-peep.

RailHawks coach Martin Rennie told Triangle Offense afterward, “This is one of the hardest places to come to and win in the entire CONCACAF region. Cruz Azul didn’t win here; Columbus Crew didn’t win here."

But the RailHawks did.

Wearing all-white kits, the RailHawks came out with a defensively oriented lineup, with Rennie leaving Gregory Richardson, Etienne Barbara and Paladini on the bench in favor of greater brawn. But the visitors struck first with a goal by Sallieu Bundu in the 5th minute from a Josh Gardner cross. That score held for the next 68 minutes.

Along the way, RailHawks keeper Eric Reed, making his first start in three games two and a half weeks, made several difficult saves from a Puerto Rico side that, despite losing Jonathan Steele and Cristian Arrieta—the last two league players of the year—still has such talents as Kendall Jagdeosingh and Nicholas Addlery remaining.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Danielson bomb helps Mudcats keep up the momentum

Posted by on Wed, May 26, 2010 at 11:13 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are back home after a day off following a solid road trip, and now they see what they can do against a good South Division opponent.

Carolina Mudcats outfielder Sean Danielson
  • Photo by Nikolaus © 2010 Carolina Mudcats
  • Carolina Mudcats outfielder Sean Danielson
It’s the first of the five-game homestand all against the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, and one of only nine games the Mudcats will play against the Seattle Mariners’ affiliate this season.

West Tenn is the only team in the division with a winning record besides the first-place Tennessee Smokies, and the Jaxx are in second place 3 ½ games out. The Mudcats, who have won 14 of their last 19 after a nightmarish April, are six games out and in fourth place.

West Tenn has on its roster Dustin Ackley, the second baseman out of UNC who was picked second in last June’s draft. The Jaxx’ manager is Tim Laker, who was an original Triple-A Durham Bull in 1998.

It’s a warm, calm night as southpaw Travis Webb (1-2) takes on fellow lefty Mauricio Robles (3-1).

And the Mudcats get the homestand off on the right foot with a comfortable 6-2 win.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dillon's four hits spark Durham Bulls, who get a big save from Ekstrom

Posted by on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 11:01 PM

Durham Bulls infielder Joe Dillon
  • File photo by D.L. Anderson
  • Durham Bulls infielder Joe Dillon
DBAP/DURHAM It’s the finale of the Durham Bulls’ four-game home series against the Pawtucket Red Sox, and the Bulls have apparently gotten their mojo back.

The Bulls came home on a five-game losing streak and have proceeded to win two of the first three games in the series. The teams have split 1-0 decisions in their previous two games.

Tonight is the PawSox’ getaway night and the last time the teams will square off in Durham this season unless they meet in the playoffs.

Heath Phillips (3-4) will go for the Bulls tonight against Michael Bowden (1-2) on a cloudy, mild evening.

The Bulls win the series with an 8-5 victory, despite the fact Dale Thayer has one of his worst relief outings as a Bull and Mike Ekstrom has to come in and clean up.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Hellickson flirts with perfecto and no-no in Durham Bulls' 1-0 victory

Posted by on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Durham Bulls pitcher Jeremy Hellickson
  • File photo by D.L. Anderson
  • Durham Bulls pitcher Jeremy Hellickson

DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls and Pawtucket Red Sox went through a long, odd day on Sunday and really settled nothing between them.

After the Bulls won in a turbo-blowout in the finish of the game suspended by Saturday’s rain and lost a one-run shutout in the rain-extended seven-inning affair that finished the day, in the words of Warren Harding they’re expecting a return to normalcy.

The Bulls still have a 4 ½-game lead over the second-place Gwinnett Braves in the International League’s South Division, while Pawtucket is in fourth place and seven games out in the North.

Pawtucket has, of course, been the Bulls’ historical worst tormentor, leading the all-time series 56-41 including 31-20 at DBAP.

Durham ace Jeremy Hellickson (6-2) is on the hill against the PawSox’ Kris Johnson (3-2). And it turns out to be one of the better pitchers’ duels in the park in quite a while, with the Bulls prevailing 1-0.

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Mudcats homer thrice to outslug Chattanooga

Posted by on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 10:56 PM

The Carolina Mudcats took advantage of three home runs, outslugging the host Chattanooga Lookouts 9-7 to win the finale of their five-game series.

Carolina Mudcats infielder Jake Kahaulelio
  • Photo by Nikolaus © 2010 Carolina Mudcats
  • Carolina Mudcats infielder Jake Kahaulelio
Carolina, which will have Tuesday off before returning to Five County Stadium on Wednesday against the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, finished with 15 hits to Chattanooga’s 13.

Jake Kahaulelio homered and singled for two RBI for the Mudcats, while Eric Eymann and Mike Costanzo added solo shots. Dave Sappelt tripled, doubled and singled for four RBI for Carolina.

Jerry Gil (3-1) was the winning pitcher while Tim Sexton (2-2) took the loss. Jordan Smith earned his seventh save.

Trayvon Robinson homered twice for three RBI for the Lookouts.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Durham Bulls demolish Pawtucket, and then take a wet 1-0 loss

Posted by on Sun, May 23, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Durham Bulls outfielder Dan Johnson
  • File photo by D.L. Anderson
  • Durham Bulls outfielder Dan Johnson
DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls have limped home at the end of a five-game losing streak, hoping the cancellation of Friday night’s game at rain-soaked Toledo might change their momentum.

They still have a 4 ½-game lead in the International League’s South Division, and are 11-7 on the season at home.

Saturday’s opponent is the Pawtucket Red Sox, who have traditionally been the Bulls’ worst tormentors.

The Bulls beat the PawSox in three straight games to win the Governors’ Cup in 2003, but
Pawtucket has the winningest record of any IL team against the Bulls. The PawSox are 55-40 all-time against Durham including a 30-19 record at DBAP.

My theory has always been that the Red Sox affiliates are built to play in a park containing something like Durham’s Blue Monster, 32 feet high at the 305 mark at the left-field foul pole.

Pawtucket hasn’t been on a roll lately either, coming into the current four-game set on a three-game losing streak. The PawSox’ left fielder is N.C. State alumnus Aaron Bates.

The rains apparently chased the Bulls down in Durham, but they may have washed away their offensive woes as well since the game is suspended with the home team up 5-0 and nobody out in the bottom of the second. And we move to Sunday, where things get much, much worse for the visitors as Durham wins 18-1. In the second game, three Pawtucket pitchers combine for a two-hitter as the visitors win 1-0.

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Lookouts' big ninth inning foils Mudcats on road

Posted by on Sun, May 23, 2010 at 7:14 PM

The Carolina Mudcats definitely let one slip away.

Carolina Mudcats infielder Jose Castro
  • Photo by Nikolaus © 2010 Carolina Mudcats
  • Carolina Mudcats infielder Jose Castro
The Chattanooga Lookouts scored five runs in the ninth, ending the game on Corey Smith’s grand slam in a 6-4 win at AT&T Field.

The win evened the series at two wins apiece heading into the getaway game on Monday.

Smith finished up with two hits while Jaime Pedroza finished with three hits and an RBI for the Lookouts, who finished with 10 hits to the Mudcats’ 12.

Denis Phipps led Carolina with three hits and an RBI, while Jose Castro had two hits with two RBI.

Kenley Jansen (1-0) was the winning pitcher, while Jordan Smith (1-3) took the loss.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rain washes out Durham Bulls in 2nd inning, but did it wash away hitting woes?

Posted by on Sat, May 22, 2010 at 10:48 PM

Durham Bulls shortstop Elliot Johnson
  • File photo by D.L. Anderson
  • Durham Bulls shortstop Elliot Johnson
DBAP/DURHAM The Durham Bulls have limped home at the end of a five-game losing streak, hoping the cancellation of Friday night’s game at rain-soaked Toledo might change their momentum.

They still have a 4 ½-game lead in the International League’s South Division, and are 11-7 on the season at home.

Tonight’s opponent is the Pawtucket Red Sox, who have traditionally been the Bulls’ worst tormentors.
The Bulls beat the PawSox in three straight games to win the Governors’ Cup in 2003, but

Pawtucket has the winningest record of any IL team against the Bulls. The PawSox are 55-40 all-time against Durham including a 30-19 record at DBAP.

My theory has always been that the Red Sox affiliates are built to play in a park containing something like Durham’s Blue Monster, 32 feet high at the 305 mark at the left-field foul pole.

Pawtucket hasn’t been on a roll lately either, coming into the current four-game set on a three-game losing streak. The PawSox’ left fielder is N.C. State alumnus Aaron Bates.

The rains apparently chased the Bulls down in Durham, but they may have washed away their offensive woes as well since the game is suspended with the home team up 5-0 and nobody out in the bottom of the second.

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Mudcats can't quite complete comeback

Posted by on Sat, May 22, 2010 at 10:41 PM

The Carolina Mudcats made a late run at the Chattanooga Lookouts, but couldn’t quite climb out of the hole.

Carolina Mudcats outfielder Denis Phipps
  • Photo by Nikolaus © 2010 Carolina Mudcats
  • Carolina Mudcats outfielder Denis Phipps
Chattanooga had a four-run lead going into the seventh inning, and single runs by the visiting Mudcats in the seventh, eighth and ninth weren’t enough to slash the deficit in a 4-3 loss.

Corey Smith had three hits with a double and an RBI while Mike Rivera added three hits including a double for the Lookouts, who won for the first time in three tries in the current five-game series.

Denis Phipps homered for the Mudcats, while Chris Denove added two hits including a double.

Alberto Bastardo (4-3) was the winning pitcher, with Jon Huber collecting his first save. Scott Carroll (0-1) took the loss.

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