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Carolina Mudcats

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mudcats drop series opener to visiting Beach boys

Posted by on Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 1:59 AM

Alex Monsalve tags Myrtle Beach's Edwin Garcia out at the plate. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Alex Monsalve tags Myrtle Beach's Edwin Garcia out at the plate.

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Good news for the Carolina Mudcats is that they're in the pennant race in August.

And if they win the second-half race in the Carolina League's Southern Division they'll be in the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

They're currently in third place at 23-23, 2 1/2 games behind tonight's opponent from Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans won the first half, so if they win the division and the Mudcats take silver Carolina will be in the playoffs - although the entire best-of-3 would be on the Grand Strand. Carolina trails Winston-Salem by half a game.

Raleigh native Josh McElwee is a relief pitcher for the Mudcats.

Adam Plutko (3-6, 4.63) will start for Carolina against Sam Wolff (7-4, 3.21).

The Mudcats just have a rough night at the plate tonight, dropping an otherwise well-played game 5-1.

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    Carolina still just half-game out of playoff spot

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wilmington ekes out 10th-inning victory over Mudcats

Posted by on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 2:12 AM

Josh Martin fires one home for the Mudcats. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Josh Martin fires one home for the Mudcats.

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats have the Carolina League's best record in the second half after having its worst in the first.

But tonight they'll try to break a two-game skid.

It's the middle of a three-game home series against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, who could take over first place in the Northern Division with a win.

Cole Sulser (3-9, 5.05) will take on the Rocks' Glenn Sparkman (6-2, 1.43) in a battle of right-handers.

Wilmington has a couple of familiar faces, as closer Mark Peterson is an alumnus of Sanderson High while hitting coach Milt Thompson played for the legendary 1980 Durham Bulls.

It's a back-and-forth contest all night, but the visitors get a run in the 10th and escape with a 7-6 decision.
Wilmington hitting coach Milt Thompson played for Durham 34 seasons ago. - KIM KELLAM
  • Kim Kellam
  • Wilmington hitting coach Milt Thompson played for Durham 34 seasons ago.
Wilmington strikes in the first as Raul Mondesi hits a one-out double to right and scores on Bubba Starling's single to left.

But the Mudcats respond with a couple in the bottom of the frame. Yhoxian Medina singles with one out, advancing on a balk before LeVon Washington is safe on an error to Sparkman. Yandy Diaz picks up the RBI on a grounder to short before Jeremy Lucas makes it 2-1 on a double to right.

The Blue Rocks tie it in the fourth as Bubba Starling leads off with a double to left, advances on Mark Threlkeld's single to right and scores on Jared Schlehuber's one-out fly to center. Mudcats skipper Scooter Tucker is ejected at the end of the half-inning.

But Carolina takes the lead again in the bottom. Alex Monsalve leads off with a double and later scores when James Roberts reaches on a fielder's choice. Medina makes it 4-2 with an RBI single off third base to score Roberts.

Wilmington comes back to take the lead in the fifth and chase Sulser. Mondesi hits a two-run double and Starling an RBI single, and Michael Antonio later greets Jacob Lee with a single up the middle to make it 6-4.

The Mudcats aren't dead yet. In the bottom of the frame against Aroni Nina, Monsalve singles and later scores on a wild pitch. Roberts hits a one-out single, and after Logan Vick walks Yhoxian Medina hits an RBI single to third to tie the score and chase Nina.

In the 10th, Starling jumps on the first pitch from Grant Sides for a triple to right center. Michael Antonio rips a sac fly to center to score Starling with the winner.

Mark Peterson pitches the bottom of the frame for his 22nd save of the season.

They said it …
Mudcats hitting coach Tony Mansolino: "Everybody has a (nemesis), it seems. Lynchburg has played us a bunch of times this year and they're trying to figure out why they can't beat us. In every league you have teams you go back and forth with. We came in trying to win the series and that's over. If we can go in there and win one game tomorrow we'll be happy."

Mudcats center fielder Todd Hankins: "We got down early and came back, but we couldn't get a run up in the bottom of the ninth and they ended up scoring in the 10th. We just weren't able to tie it up. We've been playing well as a team and putting things together. We just weren't able to do it in the late innings tonight."

What does it all mean?
That Wilmington takes over first place in its division while the Mudcats are two ahead of Myrtle Beach in the Southern.

Stars of the game
1. Starling.
2. Mondesi.
3. Medina.

Play of the game
Starling's triple.

Mudcats: Lost 3.
Wilmington: Won 3.

Season series
Wilmington leads 14-5.

On deck
Mudcats (Ryan Merritt 10-3, 2.13) vs. Wilmington (Jonathan Dziedzic 5-5, 2.60)
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    Sanderson product Peterson picks up save for Blue Rocks

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Loss leaves Mudcats harder road to catch Myrtle Beach

Posted by on Sat, May 24, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Mudcats ace Shawn Morimando responded with a quality start Saturday night.
  • Photo by Dean Strickland, OD
  • Mudcats ace Shawn Morimando responded with a quality start Saturday night.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's opportunity time for the Carolina Mudcats, as they continue their series with the first-place Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Carolina, which is in third place in the Carolina League's Southern Division and 6 1/2 games behind Myrtle Beach, won the opener of their four-game series on Friday night and have seven more games left against the Pelicans with 25 games left in the first half.

Tonight, Carolina ace Shawn Morimando (5-2, 3.83) will take on the Pelicans' Sam Wolff (4-3, 3.06). Carolina hitting coach Tony Mansolino is managing in place of Scooter Tucker, who has taken a short personal leave.

And on this night the Pelicans get the best of it, scoring four runs in the seventh inning in a 6-2 win.

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    Morimando solid in a no-decision.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Merritt, Mudcats take series lead over Nationals in pitchers' duel

Posted by on Sat, Apr 5, 2014 at 10:18 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Checking in on the Carolina Mudcats, who are off to a 1-1 start heading into their first Saturday night home game of the season.

It’s Game 3 for new skipper Scooter Tucker against the Potomac Nationals - the current affiliates of the Washington Nationals, of course — who were long ago known as the Prince William Pirates.

Mudcats starter Ryan Merritt fires a strike against Potomac.
  • Photo by Dean Strickland O.D.
  • Mudcats starter Ryan Merritt fires a strike against Potomac.

Heading to the mound tonight for the Mudcats is Ryan Merritt (6-9, 3.42 at Lake County before a late callup to Zebulon last season.) The Nationals will counter with fellow southpaw Brett Mooneyham, who was 10-3 with a 1.94 ERA at Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League last year before a late-season callup to Potomac.

The Nationals have an area product in left fielder Will Piwnica-Worms, who was a non-drafted free agent out of Duke following the 2012 season.

The Mudcats need just three hits, getting great pitching all night in a 3-1 victory.

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    Carolina needs only three hits to top Potomac

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Play ball! Bulls, Mudcats open seasons in just a few hours

Posted by on Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 12:19 AM

Pitching should be a strength as the Bulls open defense of their Governors Cup tonight.
They’re at both ends of the full-season minor-league spectrum.

The Durham Bulls, who have billed themselves as “America’s Favorite Minor League Team,” play at the Triple-A level, just one step from the Major League show.

In their 17th season as the top affiliates of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Bulls are defending Governors Cup Champions and during their run have won that title four times plus one National Championship.

The Carolina Mudcats play in the storied Class A-Advanced Carolina League, where they have been for the past three seasons. The CL is known as a place that separates the wheat from the chaff and the men from the boys among minor-league prospects.

And as the affiliates of the Cleveland Indians, the Mudcats inherited a long winning tradition from when the team was known as the Kinston Indians.

Durham Bulls Athletic Park is due for a grand re-opening after a $20 million renovation, while the Mudcats’ Five County Stadium has a reputation as one of the best facilities in A-ball.

There will be high hopes all around as the teams open their seasons at home about 10 minutes apart.

Nathan Karns (10-6, 3.26 at Harrisburg in ’13) will take the mound at 6:05 for the Bulls against the Gwinnett Braves, skippered by long-ago former Bulls manager Brian Snitker. Gavin Floyd (0-4, 5.18 at Atlanta) is set to start for the G-Braves.

And the Mudcats will play their first game under new manager Scooter Tucker, who was at Lake County of the Midwest League last season. 2013 Mudcats manager David Wallace is now managing Double-A Akron.
Mudcats lefty Shawn Morimando (8-13, 3.73 in ’13) is set to fire his first pitch against the Potomac Nationals at 6:15.

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    $20M DBAP renovation unveils tonight

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Mudcats lose in extras, move to brink of elimination

Posted by on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 11:56 PM

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.

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    Joey Wendle and Tony Wolters win coveted team awards.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Mudcats win again, stay in position for playoff spot

Posted by on Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 11:20 PM

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.

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    Three pitchers combine for shutout in 7-0 rout of first-place Myrtle Beach.

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Mudcats take advantage of Nats' iron gloves to win series opener

Posted by on Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 11:19 PM

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.

File photo
  • File photo

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.

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    Mudcats beat league's best team to hold division lead

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Once sad-sack Mudcats closing in on Southern Division lead

Posted by on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 11:54 PM

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.

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    Carolina now trails Myrtle Beach by a slight half-game

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Morimando starts shutout as Mudcats get back to .500

Posted by on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 10:54 PM

Shawn Morimando threw fve shutout innings in his second straight start.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are playing much better in the second half than they did in the first, when they were the worst team in the Carolina League.

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.

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    Hot win gives Muddies best win percentage since April.

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