Jake Gatewood ripped a walk-off single in the ninth as the Mudcats defeated the Dash on Sunday
Zebulon – Troy Stokes Jr., Isan Diaz and Lucas Erceg each had two-out, run scoring hits in the eighth and Jake Gatewood drove in the game winner with a bases loaded walk-off single in the ninth as the Mudcats rallied back for an 8-7 win versus the Dash at Five County Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Erceg set a new career high with four hits after going 4-for-5 with three RBIs in the series opening home win against the Dash (19-38). Gatewood then broke a 7-7 tie in the ninth with his game winning hit and was 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. Stokes and Diaz also scored twice and were both 1-for-4 in the game for the Mudcats (30-26).
Carolina trailed 7-4 heading into their half of the eighth before rallying for three, two-out runs in the frame to tie the game. The Mudcats had four hits in the eighth, with three coming against reliever Jake Johansen and the final, game tying, hit coming against reliever Ryan Riga. Riga (0-4, 4.74) allowed a run on four hits and walked three in the loss.
Cooper Hummel started the eighth with a lead off single, but Johansen then went on to retire both Weston Wilson and Corey Ray quickly to get two outs in the frame. Hummel was stuck at first until Stokes brought him in with a RBI double to left. Diaz then kept the rally going with a RBI single to right-center and was eventually moved to second when Johansen hit Gatewood’s left hand with a 0-2 fastball. Riga was then brought in to face Erceg and the left-handed batter ripped a double to left off the left-handed reliever while scoring Diaz to tie the game at 7-7.
Riga stayed in for the ninth and started the frame with a strikeout of Hummel before giving up a double off the right field wall to Wilson. Ray then followed with a bloop hit to left that gave Wilson a chance to score from second, but Dash third baseman Trey Michalczewski played the blooper perfectly while making a strong throw home to catch Wilson at the plate for the second out in the ninth.
Ray moved to second on the throw home after reaching on his single and was later joined on the bases when the Dash chose to intentionally walk Stokes. Riga then walked Diaz to load the bases before allowing Ray to score from third on Gatewood’s walk-off single to left.
Ray struck out four times and was 1-for-6 in the game. He only reached base once, but scored the game winning run. Trent Clark was 2-for-3 with two walks and both Hummel and Wilson were 2-for-5 in the Carolina victory.
The Mudcats scored four runs over the final two innings and had 10 hits over their final four frames in Sunday’s game. They were originally held to four runs on six hits over the first three frames and trailed 6-4 after the third.
The Dash opened Sunday’s wild game with an unearned run off Cody Ponce in the first, but Carolina answered back with two runs off Brannon Easterling in the bottom of the first while taking a 2-1 lead. Winston-Salem then answered with a five run, seven hit, second and led 6-2 before the Mudcats later scored two more runs in the third to cut the lead to 6-4. They also scored an unearned run in the eighth and led 7-4 before the Mudcats came back late in the game.
Michalczewski had a RBI triple in the first and was 2-for-5 for the Dash. Louis Silverio was 2-for-5 with a two-run, bases loaded double in the second and Keon Barnum was 3-for-5 with a RBI single. Danny Mendick and Landon Lassiter also had multi-hit games and were both 2-for-4 in the game for the Dash.
Ponce worked through the fourth, but left after reaching 92 pitches and after allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits. He gave up an unearned run in the first, but then allowed five runs and seven hits in the second before tossing back-to-back scoreless frames in the third and fourth.
Quintin Torres-Costa followed Ponce and pitched through three scoreless frames between the fifth and seventh innings. He allowed just one hit and walked one while striking out two on 34 pitches (24 strikes).
Eric Hanhold earned the win after allowed just one unearned run on three hits over two innings. Handhold (2-2, 6.75) finished with two strikeouts and has now allowed just one earned run over his last five relief appearances.
Easterling started for the Dash and worked through five innings with four runs allowed on six hits. He also walked two and struck out six. Louie Lechich pitched through and inning and 2/3 scoreless with three hits and a walk. Johansen earned a hold, but was charged with three runs allowed on three hits over one inning. He originally stranded three in the seventh after coming in with the bases loaded in place of Lechich before leaving the game in the eighth.
The Mudcats and Dash will continue the series on Monday night at Five County Stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m.