Mudcats

Mudcats fall 5-4 on walk-off blast in Salem

Posted July 16

Infielder Isan Diaz playing for the 2017 Carolina Mudcats at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, NC. (NIKOLAUS - Carolina Mudcats)

Salem’s Josh Ockimey had a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh and hit a walk-off home run in the 12th while leading the Red Sox to a 5-4 series opening victory against the Mudcats on Sunday afternoon at Haley Toyota Field in Salem, Va.

The Mudcats (47-45, 11-13) rallied back with a two-out run in the ninth to tie Sunday’s series opener, but fell short in the end as Stephen Nogosek pitched through three shutout frames in extras while leading the Red Sox (55-38, 15-9) to the series opening victory. Nogosek (1-0, 1.74) pitched the final three innings for the Red Sox and earned the win after holding Carolina scoreless and striking out two.

Reliever Brad Kuntz had pitched through three scoreless frames in Sunday’s game before giving up the walk-off homer to Ockimey on the first of the final inning. Kuntz (3-3, 2.76) originally entered the game in the ninth and finished with two walks and four strikeouts over three plus innings. Ockimey was 3-for-6 with a run, a double, a home run and two RBIs for the Red Sox.

Carolina scored first in Sunday’s game after getting a solo home run from Isan Diaz in the second inning. Diaz also had a double in the game and was 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI. His home run was his 11th overall this year and his second in July.

The 1-0 lead slipped away later in the second when starter Frank Lopez fell into a bases loaded and saw a run come across on a passed ball lost by catcher Cooper Hummel. The Red Sox later broke the 1-1 tie with a two run fourth after Lopez fell into another bases loaded jam. He let the go-ahead run in on a wild pitch and then gave up a RBI single to Jhon Nunez.

Hummel brought the Mudcats back within one of the lead at 3-2 when he hit an opposite field solo home run off Salem’s starter Mike Shawaryn in the fifth. The home run was Hummel’s second of the season and the second in the game allowed by Shawaryn.

Shawaryn pitched through five innings in Sunday’s game and finished with two runs allowed on four hits. He also struck out nine and left with a 3-2 lead before giving way to reliever Marc Brakeman in the sixth. Brakeman (BS, 2) went on to lose the one run Salem lead after giving up an RBI single to Luis Aviles in the sixth.

The game was tied 3-3 heading into the seventh, but Ockimey broke the tie after driving in Jeremy Rivera from second with a RBI double off Carolina’s Luke Barker. Rivera had doubled earlier in the inning off Barker and was 2-for-6 with a run in the game for Salem.

Barker originally entered the game in place of Lopez in the sixth and was able to work through one scoreless frame before giving up the go-ahead run in the seventh. Lopez pitched through five plus innings (he walked the first batter faced in the sixth) and allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks. He also struck out three and reached 72 pitches (43 strikes) in the game.

Barker also struck out three, walked one and allowed just the one run on two hits over two innings. He was later followed by Eric Hanhold who pitched the eighth and kept the Red Sox scoreless while facing four batters in the inning.

The Mudcats trailed 4-3 heading into the final frame, but managed to tie the game after pinch-hitter Corey Ray reached on a two-out walk and scored from first on a flare single to right from Trent Clark.

Clark’s hit fell in front of a pushed back Tyler Spoon in left and landed uncontested after Spoon lost the ball in the sun. Ray was able to score all the way from first on the hit and the Mudcats managed to get one across while tying the game at 4-4 and forcing extras.

Salem’s Gerson Bautista gave up the ninth inning, two-out run and suffered his fourth blown save of the season. Bautista (BS, 4) also pitched the eighth and worked through a total of two innings with one run allowed on two hits. Brakeman preceded Bautista and also pitched through two innings with one run allowed on two hits.

Nogosek later finished the game by working through a scoreless 12th, despite walking Troy Stokes Jr. to start the inning. Stokes was later caught attempting to steal second to end the inning. Kuntz then came out for Carolina in the 12th and gave up the walk-off blast to Ockimey on his 52nd pitch of the game.

The Red Sox improved to 5-1 against the Mudcats this season with the series opening victory on Sunday. The loss was just Carolina’s second when playing on a Sunday this season.

UP NEXT: The Mudcats and Red Sox will continue their three game series on Monday night beginning at 7:05 p.m. in Salem at Haley Toyota Field. Marcos Diplan (5-5, 5.51) will start for the Mudcats in game two of the series, Shaun Anderson (3-2, 4.31) will start for the Red Sox. The game will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio. It will also stream via live video on MiLB.tv.

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