Mudcats Swept in Kinston as Wood Ducks Walk-Off 6-5
KINSTON, N.C. - The Mudcats were swept in Kinston for the second time this season as Alex Kowalczyk delivered a walk-off single in the 11th inning as the Wood Ducks defeated the Mudcats 6-5 at Grainger Stadium on Thursday night. Blaine Prescott homered twice for Down East while leading his club to the sweep clinching victory.
The walk-off loss was the sixth suffered by the Mudcats (18-22) this season and dropped them to just 1-3 in extra-inning games. It was also Carolina's third walk-off loss in Kinston and dropped Carolina to 0-6 in game played versus the Wood Ducks (23-17) at Grainger Stadium this year.
Jairo Beras (2-0, 5.40) earned the victory for Down East as he struck out two while pitching through a scoreless 11th inning. Alec Crawford, meanwhile, took the loss for Carolina after giving up Kowalcyzk's game winner in the final frame. Crawford (BS, 1-1, 1.69) also pitched the 10th where he allowed a run and one hit while allowing the Wood Ducks to tie the game at 5-5.
Carolina's 10th inning run came against Cole Wiper and was scored by Keston Hiura. Hiura started the inning at second base and later scored on a groundball to short from Dallas Carroll that was errantly played by shortstop Anderson Tejeda. The resulting error allowed Carolina take a 5-4 lead, but a run brought in by Leody Tavaras in the 10th locked the game up at 5-5.
Wiper pitched through a total of three innings in the game and finished with just one unearned run allowed on two hits. He also struck out five and did not issue a walk. Jacob Shortslef preceded Wiper and managed to hold the Mudcats scoreless over two innings pitched. Shortslef also struck out three and gave up two hits in his two innings pithed.
Michael Matuella started for Down East and allowed four of Carolina's five total runs over five innings pitched. He allowed a two-out run scoring single in the first to Carroll and then back-to-back doubles to Hiura and Neuhaus in the third. Neuhaus' RBI double in the third broke a 1-1 tie at the time and lifted the Mudcats to a 2-1 lead. That lead then quickly ran to 4-1 when Luis Aviles Jr. hit a two-run home run off Matuella in the fourth. The homer was Aviles' first of the year and the sixth allowed by Matuella this season.
Carolina led 4-1 in the fourth, but the Wood Ducks eventually answered with runs in the fourth and fifth against Carolina reliever Victor Diaz while pulling within one at 4-3. They then tied the game in the eighth as Prescott used his second home run of the game to tie the game at 4-4.
Prescott also hit a game tying home run in the first after connecting on a solo shot against starter Nathan Kirby in the first inning. Kirby pitched through three innings in the game and allowed just one run on one hit. He also walked one and struck out four.
Diaz pitched through five innings in relief of Kirby and finished with three runs on three hits over five innings. He also walked two and struck out six in the game for the Mudcats.
Carolina fell to 0-3 in their current six game road trip with the loss. The road trip will continue on Friday night at Buies Creek beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Jim Perry Stadium. The game will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio. The game will also stream live via high-definition video at MiLB.tv.
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