Five Run Ninth Lifts Mudcats to Thrilling 8-7 Victory
LYNCHBURG, VA - Carolina scored five straight two-out runs in the ninth to come back and defeat the Hillcats 8-7 on Saturday night in Lynchburg. Wes Rogers, Payton Henry, Pat McInerney and Eddie Silva each had two-out run scoring hits in the ninth as Carolina snapped a six-game losing streak.
The Mudcats (22-33, 61-63) trailed 7-3 going into the ninth before coming back with five runs in the final frame while taking the middle game of the series 8-7. The ninth-inning come back featured five straight two-out runs for the Mudcats and resulted in Carolina's second victory of the season when trailing after eight innings.
The ninth inning rally began with a walk from Nathan Rodriguez and continued with a one-out single from Devin Hairston. Rogers then followed with a two-out, two-run triple to right-center, cutting the deficit to 7-5. Henry then doubled in Rogers with a drive off the wall in left to make it 7-6 and McInerney followed with a double to the corner in left to score Henry and tie the game. Silva then singled to center to drive in McInerney from second while giving the Mudcats the 8-7 lead.
Lynchburg (25-28, 57-63) reliever Dakody Clemmer allowed four of Carolina's five runs in the ninth including the run scoring hits for Rogers and Henry. Reliever Yapson Gomez (L, 1-6, 2.04, BS, 3) then allowed McInerney and Silva's hit while losing the lead and taking the loss for the Hillcats.
Phil Bickford picked up the win for the Mudcats after working through two perfect frames. Bickford (W, 3-0, 3.24) also struck out three and stretched his current scoreless innings streak to 19.0 consecutive innings (5 BB, 26 SO) with his scoreless effort in Saturday's game.
Anthony Bender earned the save as he worked a scoreless ninth with one hit allowed and two strikeouts. The save was Bender's fourth so far this season with Carolina.
Carolina originally 2-0 in the opening frame after getting a two-run home run from Henry off starter Brock Hartson. The home run was Henry's 14th of the season and his first that traveled out to left. Henry went 3-for-5 with two runs, a double, a home run and three RBI in the game for the Mudcats.
Like Henry, Brice Turang also went 3-for-5 while scoring once out of the lead off spot for the Mudcats. Rogers hit second and went 3-for-5 with a run and his two-run triple in the ninth. Silva also had a multi-hit game as he went 2-for-5 with the go-ahead single in the ninth. Devin Hairston, meanwhile, went 2-for-4 while hitting ninth and playing in center field for the first time in his career. Hairston had on outfield assist in the third while starting in center, he also caught two fly balls.
Hartson was in line for the win for the Hillcats after starting and working through five innings with eight hits, three runs, two walks and four strikeouts. Felix Tati followed and went on to work three scoreless frames with three strikeouts before Clemmer took over in the ninth.
Wuilder Rodriguez started for Carolina and allowed seven runs (four earned) on six hits over four innings pitched. Rodriguez also struck out two in what was his first start with Carolina this season.
The Hillcats erased the 2-0 Carolina lead with four runs in the second off Rodriguez while taking a 4-2 lead in the game. All four of those runs scored with two outs in the second as Jason Rodriguez had a RBI double, Steven Kwan had a two-run single and Tyler Freeman had a run scoring single. The Hillcats then added one more in the third on a two-out RBI single from Rodriguez and two more in the fourth on a two-out, two-run double from Mitch Reeves.
All seven of Lynchburg's runs in the game came with two outs in an inning. Four of the seven, meanwhile, were earned as errors in the third and fourth by Trever Morrison and Turang respectively helped lead to runs in the game.
Following Rodriguez's start, the Carolina bullpen held the Hillcats scoreless the rest of the way as J.T. Hintzen worked a scoreless fifth and sixth before giving way to Bickford and eventually Bender. Hintzen struck out three, scattered a couple of hits and walked one over his two innings.
Carolina's victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Mudcats and leveled the series at a game apiece. The series will conclude with the rubber game of the series on Sunday with the first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. in Lynchburg. The game will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio.
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