Four Run Eighth Leads Mudcats to 6-5 Opening Night Victory
ZEBULON, N.C. - Tucker Neuhaus, Clint Coulter, Cooper Hummel, Max McDowell and Dallas Carroll each had singles and Weston Wilson and Luis Aviles Jr. drove in two with RBI ground outs all during a four run and five hit Carolina eighth that saw the Mudcats take their first lead of the night in a 6-5 season opening versus the Dash in front of 3,714 at Five County Stadium on Thursday night.
The Mudcats (1-0) trailed 5-2 entering their half of the eighth, but went on to score four runs on five hits off Dash (0-1) reliever Zach Thompson while taking the late lead and earning their first victory of the season. The comeback victory was also Carolina's 18th consecutive home win versus Winston-Salem since the end of the 2016 season.
Thompson (BS, 0-1, 18.00) suffered the loss for the Dash, while reliever Nattino Diplan earned the victory for the Mudcats. Diplan (1-0, 18.00) did allow two runs on three hits in the eighth, but escaped without further damage by leaving two men on base in his lone inning of work. NC State product Jon Olczak (S, 1) later earned the save after working through a scoreless ninth.
The four run Carolina eighth began with consecutive singles from Neuhaus, Coulter and Hummel. It then continued with back-to-back RBI ground outs from Wilson and Aviles, scoring both Neuhaus and Coulter respectively. A single from McDowell then pushed Hummel to third, who then scored when Ryan Aguilar reached on a two-out error by first baseman Gavin Sheets. Carroll wrapped up the comeback bid with a two-out, run scoring single to center to give the Mudcats their first lead of the game.
The Dash originally took a 2-0 lead in the fourth after collecting three hits and scoring twice off Mudcats' starter Marcos Diplan. Sheets started the rally with a one-out walk and later scored on a RBI double hit by Yeyson Yrrizarri. Ti'Quan Forbes followed a RBI knock of his own, scoring Yermin Mercedes to give the Dash their 2-0 lead.
The damage in the fourth was limited in large part to McDowell catching two runners attempting to steal against him and Diplan. McDowell totaled three caught steals and picked off a runner for the Mudcats in the opening night victory.
The Mudcats later answered the two run Dash fourth with a run in the fifth on a RBI double from Aguilar, but the two teams traded runs in the sixth before Winston-Salem added to its lead with two more runs in the eighth. The Dash had a 5-2 lead going into the Carolina eighth before the Mudcats began their late rally.
Dane Dunning started for the Dash and worked through the fifth with eight strikeouts. He also allowed just one run on three hits before giving way to Kyle Kubat and the Dash bullpen. Kubat worked through the sixth and seventh and yielded just one run on three hits. Thompson later worked the eighth and ended up with the loss after giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits.
Wilson went 2-for-4 with a run scoring double and two RBI for the Mudcats in the opening night victory. McDowell also had two hits including a double and a run scored. Coulter scored twice and was 2-for-4 and Carroll went 1-for-3 with two walks and the go-ahead RBI single in the eighth.
The series continues on Friday night with RHP Trey Supak getting the start for the Mudcats at Five County Stadium. Left-hander Bernardo Flores will start for the Dash. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Zebulon.
Images from this story
Carolina Mudcats Catcher Max McDowell behind the plate
Opening night introductions for the Carolina Mudcats
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