by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats may be in last place in the Southern League, but it’s possible they’re starting to right the ship.
It’s back to the top of the rotation for the pitching staffs tonight. The Mudcats will send Daryl Thompson (0-2, 6.46) against southpaw Matt Moore (1-2, 5.18). Thompson is the only member of the Mudcats’ roster on the Cincinnati Reds’ 40-man, while Moore has led the minor leagues in strikeouts each of the last two seasons.
Moore and the Montgomery bullpen keep the Mudcats’ bats quiet most of the night, and the Biscuits roll to an 8-1 win to even the series.
The Mudcats get the advantage in the first as Quintin Berry walks, steals second and third and then scores on Mike Costanzo’s single to left center.
But Montgomery scores three off Thompson in the fifth. UNC alumnus Reid Fronk leads off by launching a 1-2 offering over the right-field wall. John Shelby reaches on an error to third baseman Cody Puckett. Sacrifice flies to center from Tim Beckham and Stephen Vogt make it 3-1.
Montgomery adds a run in the sixth. Thompson leaves with two out and Matt Sweeney on first after a walk. Front reaches on a Puckett error and then Shelby is hit by a pitch before Cole Figueroa draws a bases-loaded walk.
And the Biscuits remove all doubt with four runs in the eighth. The big hits are an RBI double from Figueroa and a two-run double from Vogt.
Moore goes five innings in the victory and gives up two hits, striking out nine with two walks. Vogt finishes with the double and single for three RBI.
Thompson is decent, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing four runs on two hits with seven strikeouts against four walks.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Bell: “Thompson pitched real well. Some things just didn’t go his way. He’s usually had one inning a game when he’s given up a few runs. But it’s early in the year. Puckett hadn’t played third since spring training and it’s important to the organization that he play there. Their starter was really good. He may have had the best stuff we’ve seen all year.”
Biscuits manager Billy Gardner Jr.: “We came out with a lot more energy and did some good things at the plate to move runners. We took advantage of some mistakes, too. We had an opportunity in the fifth an took advantage of it. Moore was a little bit out of sync early, but then he was more in control and threw quality strikes and took charge of the game.”
Moore: “I was pleased with the way things turned out, but I didn’t have great fastball command. Developmentally it wasn’t a good night, but at the end of the night things came out all right. The guys put up eight, so you can’t ask for any more than that.”
Fronk: “On the homer I was battling him, there were two strikes and he left a changeup right there in my sweet spot. He got me with it the first at-bat, and the second one I was able to get a barrel on it. Thompson had a nice cutter and his fastball had some life. I was impressed with him.”
Thompson: “I felt pretty good. I hung a changeup to give up that home run. I got him the first time and thought I could get him with a good pitch, but I hung it and he made me pay for it. That’s what happens in baseball. The one thing I was disappointed about was my walks. I’ve been giving guys too many free bases.”
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Figueroa’s double to make it 6-1.
Mudcats: Lost 1.
Biscuits: Won 1.
Mudcats (Travis Webb 0-3, 13.50) vs. Biscuits (Chris Archer 0-1, 5.96).