August 7, 2017 - Carolina League (CarL) - Carolina Mudcats
ZEBULON, N.C. - Monte Harrison went 2-for-3 with a run and a double, but the Mudcats were held to just one run overall and four hits by Hector Perez and Sebastian Kessay of the visiting Astros in a 9-1 series finale loss to Buies Creek on Sunday afternoon at Five County Stadium.
Perez (6-4, 2.73) struck out six and scattered three hits over six scoreless innings for the Astros (66-47, 29-14). Kessay (S, 3) worked the final three innings and earned the save while striking out five and allowing just one run on one hit.
Conor Harber started for the Mudcats (56-56, 20-24) and took the loss after allowing four runs on five hits over five innings pitched. Harber (3-8, 4.98) began his outing with two runs allowed in the first, but went on to hold the visiting Astros scoreless over the next three frames before giving up two more runs in the fourth. In all, Harber walked six and struck out six in the series finale loss.
Yordan Alvarez drove in the first run of the game with a RBI single to left and was 3-for-5 with run and a RBI in the Buies Creek victory. Randy Cesar also had three hits while going 3-for-4 with three runs and two batted in. The Astros also received 2-for-5 performances from both Stephen Wrenn and Carmen Benedetti, with Wrenn scoring twice and Benedetti driving in two runs.
Buies Creek led 2-0 after the first and later went up 4-0 in the fourth on RBI doubles from Cesar and Benedetti. Rodrigo Ayarza had a run scoring double in the one run sixth and Cesar, Benedetti and Anibal Sierra had RBI hits in the four run seventh.
Brad Kuntz followed Harber out of the bullpen in the sixth and allowed the final five Buies Creek runs while pitching through an inning and 2/3. Frank Lopez took over for Kuntz in the seventh and allowed one of two inherited runners to score in the frame.
Lopez, however, went on to finish the game and worked through two and 1/3 innings with out allowing a run of his own. He also finished with three hits allowed and one strikeout.
Carolina's lone run of the game was scored by Harrison in the ninth inning after he doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a RBI groundout from Jake Gatewood. Harrison went 2-for-3 in the loss with a walk and a run scored.
The Mudcats fell to 9.5 games back of first in the second half race behind the Astros and lost the series three games to one. The loss was also Carolina's first in a Sunday game played at Five County Stadium this year.
UP NEXT: The Mudcats are off on Monday and will return to action Tuesday night at Five County Stadium with game one of a three game series against the Lynchburg Hillcats. The game will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio. It will also stream via live video at MiLB.tv.