Late Lead Slips Away as Mudcats Fall 3-2 to Pelicans in Myrtle Beach
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Noah Zavolas pitched through seven innings and totaled a career high eight strikeouts and Ryan Aguilar went 3-for-4 with two runs, but relievers Clayton Andrews and Rodrigo Benoit lost a one-run lead in the ninth as the Pelicans walked off the Mudcats 3-2 on Wednesday night in Myrtle Beach.
Carolina (11-9) had a 2-1 lead going into the ninth, but a two hit and two run final frame pushed the Pelicans (7-13) to the 3-2 walk-off victory. The loss dropped Carolina into a 1-1 tie in the three game series and was their first walk-off loss of the season.
Andrews (BS, 0-1, 13.50) originally entered the game in the eighth where he pitched around a leadoff infield single while facing four and striking out two. He then returned for the ninth and went on to walk a batter, strike out one and allow two straight hits before leaving the game.
Aramis Ademan had the second hit off Andrews in the Myrtle Beach ninth. His soft single to shallow center brought across the tying run and knocked Andrews out of the game. Benoit followed and went on to walk the first batter he faced to load the bases for Jhonny Bethencourt. Benoit was able to get Bethencourt to flyout, but the resulting sacrifice fly was just the second out of the inning and brought in the winning from third as the bases were loaded.
Benoit and Andrews were the only two relievers used by the Mudcats in Wednesday's loss to the Pelicans. Benoit inherited two and allowed one to score in the ninth. Andrews, meanwhile, ended up with the loss and blown save in what was his first appearance with the Mudcats this season. They followed Zavolas who left with his club leading 2-1 after seven.
In all, Zavolas worked through a career high seven innings and totaled a career best eight strikeouts in his stellar start. He also walked one and allowed just one run on four hits while reaching 86 pitches (62 strikes). He allowed two triples and one run in the second while letting a 1-0 lead slip away, but went on to hold the Pelicans without another run the rest of the way.
The Mudcats did score first in the game and did so after collecting two hits and one run in the first. Aguilar started the rally with a double to left before scoring on a single to center from Tristen Lutz. Myrtle Beach tied it in the second, but Aguilar scored again in the fourth while the Mudcats took their 2-1 lead.
Carolina's go-ahead run in the fourth came across with direct help of three Myrtle Beach errors in the inning. Two of the errors were on bad throws to first from starter Oscar De La Cruz and both would help the Mudcats take their second lead of the game. Aguilar started the fourth with a single to right, but moved to third moments later on a failed throw to first from De La Cruz. Lutz then reached on an error, and with runners at first and third a second throwing error to first by De La Cruz scored Aguilar from third.
De La Cruz eventually settled in nicely for Myrtle Beach and ended up going through six innings with just one earned run (two total) allowed on five hits. He also struck out one and left after reaching 88 pitches (61 strikes). The Myrtle Beach bullpen arms of Garrett Kelly and Jesus Camargo pitched the final three frames and combined to total three strikeouts while holding Carolina without a run or hit the rest of the way.
The Mudcats were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the loss and left four men on base. They were also held without a home run, snapping their streak of consecutive games with a home run at eight straight.
UP NEXT: The Mudcats and Pelicans will play the finale of their three game series on Thursday night beginning at 7:05 p.m. in Myrtle Beach. The series is tied at 1-1 and Carolina will turn to starter RHP Dylan File (0-3, 5.63) as the look to win the road series. The game will begin at 7:05 p.m. at TicketReturn.com Field. The game will air live on the Mudcats Radio Network, the Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio.
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