Harrison scored the go-ahead run in the 15th and Hanhold struck out nine in the victory
Buies Creek – Monte Harrison doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the 15th and reliever Eric Hanhold struck out nine over four innings between the 11th and 14th as the Mudcats outlasted the Astros 6-5 in 15 innings at Jim Perry Stadium in Buies Creek on Tuesday night.
Harrison first broke a 2-2 earlier in the game with a solo home run to right in the sixth and then broke the 5-5 tie in the 15th after doubling and scoring on a sacrifice fly from Luis Aviles. Harrison was 3-for-6 with two runs, a double, a home run and a RBI in the extra innings victory for the Mudcats (4-2, 40-34).
Carolina had led 5-3 entering the ninth, but closer Nate Griep allowed a game tying home run to Buies Creek (2-4, 39-37) outfielder Stephen Wrenn and the game would then be forced into extras.
Griep (BS, 2) originally entered the game in the eighth (stranding two inherited runners) following Conor Harber and allowed just the two runs on two hits over two and 1/3 innings. He also walked one and struck out two while suffering his first blown save since April 30.
Hanhold (5-2, 5.18) followed Griep in the 11th and went on to work through a masterful performance as he struck out nine and allowed just one hit over four scoreless innings. Hanhold faced 14 and allowed just two base runners while earning the victory.
Quintin Torres-Costa (S, 1) worked the final frame and earned the save after striking out two. He struck out Ryne Birk looking to end the game and picked up his first save of the season.
Sebastian Kessay (4-2, 3.06) suffered the loss after allowing Harrison’s go-ahead run in the final frame. He had originally worked through a scoreless 14th before losing the tie in his second inning of relief work.
Both sides used five pitchers in the four hour and 14 minute, 15-inning game. Carolina’s five, consisting of starter Jordan Yamamoto and relievers Harber, Griep, Hanhold and Torres-Costa, combined for 23 strikeouts while walking six and giving up seven hits., Meanwhile, Buies Creek’s pitchers, consisting of starter Matt Bower, Howie Brey, Sean Stutzman, David Hernandez and Kessay, combined for 16 strikeouts, six walks and 11 hits allowed.
Yamamoto matched a season high with eight strikeouts and allowed just two runs on three hits over six innings. He began the game by retiring eight straight batters before giving up a solo home run to Alex De Goti in the third. The home run came on a 1-2 pitch and immediately after a fouled off, missed pop up at first. Myles Straw then hit a triple on the very next pitch and scored moments later on a balk to tie the game.
Carolina did score first in Tuesday’s marathon game and did so in the third on a two-run double from Lucas Erceg. Corey Ray to the rally started by being struck by a pitch from Bower and Stokes followed with a double to left-center. Erceg then dropped in his double to left and the Mudcats led 2-0 before the Astros came back to tie it in the same frame.
Erceg also doubled in his first at-bat in the first inning and was 3-for-7 with two RBIs and two doubles in the game for the Mudcats. Stokes was 2-for-7 with a run and Ray was 1-for-6 with a two-out, two-run double in the sixth.
Ray’s double came in the sixth after Harrison broke the 2-2 tie with his first Mudcats’ home run. The opposite field shot hit by Harrison was his 12th overall this season; he hit 11 home runs with Low-A Wisconsin in the first half. The Mudcats led 5-2 after the sixth, but the Astros came back with a run in the eighth before eventually getting Wrenn’s game tying blast in the ninth.
Reliever David Hernandez pitched the 10th and stayed in through the 13th for the Astors. Hernandez was untouchable and finished his scoreless effort with seven strikeouts over a season high four perfect innings.
The Mudcats evened the series at 1-1 with Tuesday’s extra inning victory at Buies Creek. They also improved to 6-1 in extra innings games this season with the victory.
The Mudcats and Astros will continue the four game set tonight(Wednesday) with the first pitch at 7:00 p.m. at Jim Perry Stadium in Buies Creek.