Carolina rallied for three late runs to win in extras with 5,890 on hand at Five County Stadium
Zebulon – Troy Stokes Jr. tied the game with a bases loaded, two-out pop up single the ninth and Max McDowell forced in the game winner after reaching on an error in the tenth as the Mudcats rallied for a 4-3 sweep clinching victory against the Dash in front of 5,890 at Five County Stadium on Monday night.
The walk-off victory lifted the Mudcats (8-4, 44-36) to their four straight win and clinched a four game series sweep against the visiting Dash (5-7, 29-53). It also brought Carolina’s record to 13-1 overall and 10-0 at home versus Winston-Salem this season.
The Mudcats trailed 3-1 entering the ninth before getting a leadoff bunt single from Monte Harrison and then a walk from Trent Clark. Dash reliever Jack Charleston went on to retire the next two he faced, but then walked Corey Ray to load the bases with two outs in the inning.
Charleston (BS, 2) then went on to face Stokes with the bags full and managed to induce a pop up in front of the mound. The pop up was then missed by Winston-Salem catcher Zack Collins and the Mudcats managed to score two runs as both Harrison and Clark came in from third and second to tie the game. Collins also missed a pop up from Clark in foul territory earlier in the inning.
The missed catch was ruled a hit for Stokes and nearly ended up being the game winner as Ray attempted to score from first on the same play. Collins eventually found the ball rolling loosely near the mound and tossed it home while first baseman Telvin Nash ran in from first to cover the plate. Nash then caught Collins’ throw home and made a lunging tag to catch Ray at the plate to end the inning and force extras.
The Mudcats tied the game with their two run ninth and went on to load the bases again in the tenth against reliever Kyle Kubat. Jake Gatewood and Isan Diaz both had singles in the tenth to then set things up for McDowell. Kubat (0-2, 4.91) was able to get McDowell to roll a grounder to third, but third baseman Brady Conlan bobbled the ball and his resulting errant throw to first allowed McDowell to reach and Gatewood to score the game winning run.
Brad Kuntz pitched the final two frames for the Mudcats and earned the win after holding the Dash scoreless. Kuntz (3-2, 3.12) scattered three hits and struck out one while finishing the game.
Wuilder Rodriguez preceded Kuntz and pitched through three and 1/3 innings scoreless while totaling four strikeouts and giving up just three hits. Kodi Medeiros started the game and left in the fifth with three runs allowed on three hits. He also walked a career high six batters and struck out five.
The Dash originally led 1-0 after one thanks to a run scoring sacrifice fly from Collins off Medeiros in the first. They also scored twice in the second on run scoring hits from Danny Mendick and Luis Basabe and led 3-0 before the Mudcats scored a run in the same frame.
Gatewood singled and scored a run on a RBI double from Diaz in the second and Carolina was able to cut the lead to 3-1 against starter Dane Dunning and the Dash.
Dunning, however, held the 3-1 lead through the sixth as he finished with just one run allowed on four hits in his quality start. He also walked four and struck out six. Ryan Riga later worked through an inning and a 1/3 for Winston-Salem and did not allow a run while allowing just one hit.
Manager Joe Ayrault was ejected from the game in the ninth after arguing the out call of Ray at home.
The Mudcats will next host the Salem Red Sox tonight (Tuesday) at Five County Stadium for game one of a three game series. Tuesday’s game will be the second of two straight nights of post-game fireworks in Zebulon.