by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are hosting the Jacksonville Suns in Game 4 of their most recent five-game series, and they’ll need a pair of wins to emerge victorious in the set.
There’s no hole in the clouds in the sky, and there’s a light, steady rain but no tarp on the field at game time. And as the rain turns into a drizzle they’ll play through.
Scott Carroll (3-5) will start for the Mudcats against Elih Villanueva (10-4).
Former Mudcat Lee Mitchell does most of the damage, knocking in all three runs for the victors as they win 3-1 to take the series.
Jacksonville gets its first run up in the fourth as Brandon Tripp is hit by a pitch, takes second on Vinny Rottino’s grounder to second and scores on Mitchell’s double to left.
The Suns triple their lead in the sixth as Tripp is again hit by a pitch and takes third on Rottino’s double to left, followed by a two-run double to left from Mitchell.
Carolina gets on the board in the sixth as Kris Negron leads off by launching a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left. Later in the inning, Luis Terrero is ejected after fanning for out two.
Mitchell leads the Suns with the two doubles for three RBI. Villanueva gets the win with a quality start, going six and allowing the one run on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Kris Harvey gets his first save.
Mike Costanzo leads the Mudcats with two hits. Carroll takes the loss after working five-plus and allowing three runs on four hits with a strikeout and a walk.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Bell: “Carroll was good. He had a really good sinker, and the more he trusts it the more he’ll use it. I think the last hit Mitchell got might have been a breaking ball. ... They’ve played so many games here it seems like it’s a home game for them. But they have a good team and experienced players.”
Jacksonville manager Tim Leiper: “The guys in the middle of the order have been real dependable. When Mitch gets hot there’s nobody better. When he gets going he can really make our team go. Villanueva has been really good all year. He’s so dependable. He’s been a savior for us all year. He always gives us a chance to win.”
Mitchell: “I’m comfortable here because I played here 2 ½ years. It’s not a bad place to come to. It’s odd that we play them so many (31) times. We don’t mind coming here again.”
What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats are four games out while Jacksonville cut its deficit to a single game.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Mitchell’s double in the sixth.
Jacksonville leads 15-10.
Carolina: Lost 2.
Jacksonville: Won 2.
Carolina: RHP Ruben Medina promoted from Lynchburg. RHP Jesus Delgado promoted to Louisville.
Jacksonville at Mudcats, 2 p.m.
Andrew Miller (L, 1-5, 5.18) vs. Tom Cochran (L, 7-5, 2.64)