FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Talk about a must-win situation.
The Carolina Mudcats are facing one in their final regular-season home game, which will be their final home game of the season if they don’t work a miracle.
The Mudcats are in third place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division, five games behind the first-place Salem Red Sox who visit tonight for the finale of their three-game series. Both teams have eight games left in the season.
Salem has won the first two, but more importantly eight of its last 10 games while the Mudcats are 3-7 over the same span. So if Carolina wants to go from the worst team in baseball in the first half to a spot in the Mills Cup Playoffs, the Mudcats have got to get cracking. Now.
Shawn Morimando (8-12, 3.41) will take on the Red Sox’ Mike Augliera (8-6, 4.40) in a battle of lefties.
Tonight Salem puts what is likely the penultimate nail in the coffin, winning 6-4 in 12 innings.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are right in the race for a playoff spot as the season goes into its stretch run.
In fact, if the season started today Carolina — which was the losingest team in Organized Baseball in the first half — would have a Mills Cup Playoff spot.
But as long as they stay in second-place behind the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, there’s a problem. They would have to play the entire Southern Division series on the road.
Heading into the three-game series that starts tonight on a warm evening, the Pelicans have a 2 1/2-game pad over the second-place Mudcats with Salem four out.
The Mudcats have had a pair of key callups to Akron, as center fielder Tyler Naquin and pitcher Cody Anderson are now in the Eastern League. Tonight’s starting pitcher Cole Cook is down from Akron, while center fielder Logan Vick will make his Carolina League debut following his callup from Lake County in the Midwest League.
Southpaw Luis Parra (0-0, 3.00) will go for the Pelicans.
This is an easy one for Carolina, as three pitchers combine for the 7-0 shutout.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Even with a two-game losing streak and coming off a wrong-way shutout, the Carolina Mudcats are in first place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division with less than a month left in the season.
That’s a far cry, of course, from their worst record in baseball in the first half of the campaign.
Tonight’s opponent is another playoff contender, the Potomac Nationals who lead the Northern Division by six games and have the best record in the league.
Southpaw Shawn Morimando (7-10, 3.07) goes for the Mudcats against Paul Demny (0-0, 3.86) on a pleasantly warm evening.
Despite striking out 19 times, the Mudcats take advantage of three key Potomac errors to pick up an unlikely 5-3 win.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The second half of the season sure hasn’t been like the first half was for the Carolina Mudcats.
David Wallace’s team went 22-48 over the first half of the season, finishing last in the Carolina League with one of the worst records in baseball.
But in the second half, the Mudcats have been contenders.
Carolina is currently solidly in second place — and in a presumptive playoff spot — in the CL’s Southern Division with a 21-16 mark. Tonight they’ll open a three-game series with the Frederick Keys, with Nick Pasquale (3-6, 4.31) taking on Frederick southpaw Trent Howard (3-0, 1.78).
Tonight the Mudcats put up crooked numbers in the sixth and seventh innings, rolling to a 9-5 win and moving to within a half game of first-place Myrtle Beach.
Going into tonight’s hot game against in-state rival Winston-Salem the Mudcats are just one game below .500 in the second half, in third place in the Southern Division with a half-game lead over the Dash. The last time the Muddies were at .500 in a half was on April 15.
Carolina is coming off a thriller from Thursday night, a 5-2 win on Bryson Myles’ walk-off homer in the 14th.
Southpaw Shawn Morimando (5-9, 3.03) will take on the Dash’s Bryan Blough (8-6, 4.47).
The Mudcats get the job done, recording their sixth shutout of the season and third of the half in a 4-0 victory.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats conclude their three-game Independence Day celebration on a hot night, looking to even their current series.
Nick Pasquale (0-5, 5.14) will try to get out of the doldrums against Salem southpaw Henry Owens (6-3, 2.91).
Tonight Carolina plays probably its best game since April, rolling in a 9-0 rout.
After a Tuesday night rainout, the Mudcats (3-8 in the half) will take on the Lynchburg Hillcats in the finale of their scheduled three-game series. (Tuesday’s contest will be made up on Aug. 21).
It’s the first of three straight home games that will be followed by fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.
Michael Peoples (0-4, 5.87) will go for the Mudcats tonight against Jarrett Miller (5-5, 4.08) after a 31-minute rain delay.
The Mudcats recover from losing a three-run lead and win it in the eighth inning, prevailing 5-4 in a rare win over the Lynchburgers.
The Mudcats finished last in the Carolina League’s Southern Division in the first half. But with all four of their mid-season all-stars — center fielder Tyler Naquin, shortstop Francisco Lindor, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin and pitching ace Cody Anderson — returning they’re aiming for a playoff spot with a second-half comeback.
Frederick’s leadoff man is Johnny Ruettiger, whose uncle was immortalized on film in the movie “Rudy.” Former Mudcat Delvi Cid is a Keys outfielder.
Carolina picked up a 3-2 victory over the Frederick Keys in its second-half home debut on Monday. Francisco Jimenez (1-1, 3.20) will make a spot start, taking on the Keys’ Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3, 2.99) in a battle of lefties in tonight’s Game 2 of the four-game series.
And this time they make it look a little easier, as four pitchers combine for the shutout in a 5-0 victory.
After rallying from a four-run deficit, the Durham Bulls were not able to surpass the Indianapolis Indians, falling 6-4 Friday night at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
In front of an almost sold out crowd of 9.565, fans were into the game early and often. The wave was first spotted in the third inning. There wasn't a section of the ballpark without fans—even the grass section in center field.
Right-handed starter Merrill Kelly, who was recently called up from Double-A Montgomery, struck out 10 batters through 5.1 innings in his debut Triple-A start.
"I didn't know what to expect from him," Bulls Manager Charlie Montoyo said. "He pitched really well and I'm happy to see that."
Durham fell behind quickly 4-0 by the sixth inning but had chances to score, with runners reaching base in almost every inning. In both the fourth and fifth inning, the Bulls had two men aboard and were unable to score.
However, the Bulls did answer in the sixth and seventh inning.
Leslie Anderson and Wil Myers recorded back-to-back singles in the sixth and were eventually sent home to score after Cole Figueroa singled to shallow center field.
In the seventh, Vince Belnome belted a RBI triple into the corner of right field, scoring Tim Beckham, and cutting the lead to 4-3. Belnome was eventually crossed home plate after a passed ball, tying the game up at 4-4.
Once again the Bulls had an opportunity to score runs, and take the lead, in the eighth inning but fell short with runners on the corners. The Bulls went 1-for-9 with runner in scoring position, leaving 12 runners on base.
"It seemed like in the bottom of the ninth we had the right guys coming up," Montoyo said. "There's always a chance for a walk-off but it didn't happen."
Indianapolis broke through in the 10th frame after Brett Carroll belted a home run over the Blue Monster from reliever Steve Geltz. Jerry Sands later went deep to right field, sealing the win for the Indians, 6-4.
The Bulls will take on the Indians Saturday night in game two of a four-game series at the DBAP starting at 7:05.
Tonight David Wallace’s club will play the second of a three-game set with its nemesis Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who come in percentage points ahead of the Winston-Salem Dash atop the Southern Division and have won all but one meeting in the series.
There is some drama tonight as Shawn Morimando (4-5, 2.79) looks to continue his 20-inning scoreless streak. The Mudcats’ southpaw is the CL’s most recent pitcher of the week.
Of interest on the Pelicans’ roster is second baseman Rougned Odor, whose uncle Rouglas is the Mudcats’ hitting coach.
Morimando gets a quality outing but can’t get the win because his team doesn’t, falling 8-4 in 10 innings.http://