FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats will finish their series with the Lynchburg Hillcats on an unseasonably cold evening.
And right now it’s about turning around the momentum.
The Mudcats are in last place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division, 10 games behind first place Myrtle Beach with 34 games left in the half. So for the team, it’s all about getting the momentum headed in the right direction.
The visiting Atlanta Braves’ affiliates will look for a sweep of the four-game series.
Nick Pasquale (0-0, 2.19 at Lake County) will make his Mudcats debut against Navery Moore (2-4, 6.69).
Things don’t go Carolina’s way after the first few innings, as they fall 7-4 and are victims of a four-game sweep in Zebulon for the first time since joining the CL last spring.
The Carolina League plays two 70-game halves, and 28 games into the race they’re in last place and five games out of first in the Southern Division.
Tonight they’ll play the second of a three-game set against the Frederick Keys, affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles, who are percentage points out of first in the Northern Division after a 4-3 win in 11 innings on Friday.
The Keys have several personalities of interest in the lineup. They have last season’s Mudcat center fielder Delvi Cid along with first baseman Connor Narron, who played at C.B. Aycock High in Pikeville and is the son of Milwaukee Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron. And the leadoff man is Johnny Ruettiger, whose uncle Dan “Rudy” Ruettiger was the Notre Dame football walkon portrayed by Sean Astin in the hit movie “Rudy.”
Southpaw Elvis Araujo, recovering from an elbow injury, makes his Mudcats debut against Zach Petersime (1-2, 7.85), who is going on three days’ rest.
Tonight the Keys make the most out of a few clutch hits, scoring four runs in the last three innings to win 7-4.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Checking in on the Carolina Mudcats, who happen to be in last place in the Carolina League.
All of that doesn’t mean much, as through 18 games the league’s hottest teams are a scant two games ahead of the coldest. The Mudcats lead the league with a .277 batting average.
Tonight they’ll try for their third win in as many tries against the Potomac Nationals. Southpaw Shawn Morimando (1-1, 1.29) will go for the Mudcats against Blake Schwartz who is making his Carolina League debut.
One swing of the bat makes all the difference, as the Nats get in a lick with a 2-0 victory.
They’ve won the first two of the series against the Winston-Salem Dash — the first in a rout and the second with an eighth-inning comeback — and will look for the sweep on a proverbial perfect spring afternoon for baseball. The Dash was not swept last year.
Southpaw Shawn Morimando (7-6, 3.59 at Lake County last season) will take on the Dash’s Chris Beck (4-3, 4.69 at Great Falls).
Things remain so far, so good for the Mudcats, who get six runs out of six hits in their 6-2 win to complete the sweep.
At least for April, there aren’t much better nights for baseball around here, as the rain is gone and there is no wind and it’s 62 degrees at first pitch.
The Mudcats start the season with a three-game series against the Winston-Salem Dash, and the Carolina roster looks to be a lot stronger than the one that wasn’t really competitive in either half last season.
The Mudcats have a pair of first-round draft picks on their roster in shortstop Francisco Lindor (2011) and center fielder Tyler Naquin (2012).
Cody Anderson (4-7, 3.20 at Lake County) will start for the Mudcats tonight against Bryan Blough (2-0, 3.93). Blough’s two wins last season were against the Mudcats.
Carolina has the hot bats tonight, banging out 14 hits to the in-state rivals’ four in a 10-1 romp.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Play ball!
The Mudcats will boast a pair of fresh-faced first-round draft picks and a young new manager when Cody Anderson (4-7, 3.20 at Lake County last season) takes the hill against Bryan Blough (2-0, 3.93) in the first of their three-game set against the Chicago White Sox affiliates.
The manager is 33-year-old David Wallace, a Vanderbilt alumnus and former Indians organization catcher who played in Kinston and later Buffalo. Wallace is 112-102 entering his third season as a manager.
McKIMMON CENTER/RALEIGH Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison was the first active player in seven years not named Josh Hamilton to win the Will Wynne Award as the North Carolinian contributing most to baseball.
Those were just two of the big award winners at the 63rd annual baseball banquet of the Raleigh Hot Stove League on Tuesday night.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Checking in on the Carolina Mudcats, who start their penultimate long homestand of the season in good shape to make a run over the final month.
Danny Salazar (0-2, 2.96) will take on the Pelicans’ Randy Henry (5-6, 2.57) in the series opener.
The night turns out to be a great pitchers’ duel, and Salazar — who has been on a long road back from elbow surgery — gets his first win since 2010 in a 2-1 Carolina victory.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The second half of the season has been good to the Carolina Mudcats so far, and tonight they’ll look to clinch a series against the first-half Southern Division champion Winston-Salem Dash.
Tonight, Joseph Colon will make his Mudcats debut while Justin Collop (7-2, 3.98) will go for the Dash.
It isn’t Colon’s or the Mudcats’ night, as they go down easily in a fight-marred 7-0 loss.
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats have gotten off to a nice start in the second half, and they’ll try to keep it going in the second of their three-game series against the Potomac Nationals tonight.
Carolina will send Danny Salazar (0-2, 3.00) to the hill against the Nationals’ Trevor Holder (5-2, 3.52).
This is the Mudcats’ night, as they slug four homers in a 15-hit attack in an 11-1 rout.