Late breakdown dooms Mudcats

Posted August 26, 2013

— The Salem Red Sox put together three straight hits in the ninth to score the decisive run in a 5-4 win over the Carolina Mudcats on Sunday afternoon at Five County Stadium. The Mudcats (31-31, 53-79) fall five games behind the Red Sox (36-26, 69-63) for the final playoff spot.

Louis Head (3-2) took a tough loss after the right-hander allowed a run on three hits over two innings. He struck out three. Matt Price (6-0) stayed undefeated by keeping the Mudcats off the scoreboard over the final two innings.

Head worked through the first two batters in the ninth before surrendering a single to Blake Swihart. Salem’s catcher rolled a grounder to second baseman Joey Wendle and was ruled safe on a close play at first base. Mookie Betts followed with a sharp grounder up the middle for a hit.

Matt Gedman chopped a slow, dying bounder up the middle that both of Carolina’s middle infielders tried for. Wendle and Erik Gonzalez converged on the ball, but both overran it. As the ball trickled into center, Swihart rounded third and scored what proved the game winner.

Carolina fell into a 4-0 hole when Salem started three straight innings with a home run off Cole Cook. Sean Coyle cracked one in the first, Gedman to begin the second and Stefan Welch launched one out to right at the start of the third.

The Mudcats rallied to tie the game in the fourth. Wendle drew a walk and moved to third on a double by Paddy Matera. Tony Wolters worked a walk off starter Heri Quevedo to load the bases. Gonzalez brought home Wendle with a single up the middle.

Jerrud Sabourin was hit by a pitch to force in Matera and Wolters scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Lavisky. Logan Vick kept the surge going with a walk to re-load the bases. Bryson Myles drove a fly ball that was caught by Keury De La Cruz in deep left. The sacrifice fly allowed Gonzalez to score, tying the game 4-4.

Wendle gave the Mudcats a brief lead in the fifth on a towering home run over and out to right. It was his 15th of the season.

Salem tied the game in the sixth against reliever Rob Nixon. Nick Natoli led off with a double and moved to third on a groundout. With the infield in, Coyle sent a soft liner into shallow right to bring in the tying run.

Carolina wraps up their 2013 home schedule with the finale against the Salem Red Sox on Monday night at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (919) 269-2287 or visiting


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