by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats will finish their series with the Lynchburg Hillcats on an unseasonably cold evening.
And right now it’s about turning around the momentum.
The Mudcats are in last place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division, 10 games behind first place Myrtle Beach with 34 games left in the half. So for the team, it’s all about getting the momentum headed in the right direction.
The visiting Atlanta Braves’ affiliates will look for a sweep of the four-game series.
Nick Pasquale (0-0, 2.19 at Lake County) will make his Mudcats debut against Navery Moore (2-4, 6.69).
Things don’t go Carolina’s way after the first few innings, as they fall 7-4 and are victims of a four-game sweep in Zebulon for the first time since joining the CL last spring.
The Mudcats score one in the first. Tyler Naquin draws a leadoff walk, and Francisco Lindor reaches on a fielder’s choice ball to second before Jerrud Sabourin’s RBI single to right.
Lynchburg comes back for two in the second. Kyle Kubitzka draws a two-out walk and Ross Heffley doubles down the third-base line before Elmer Reyes smacks a two-run single to left.
The Mudcats tie it in the third, as Sabourin hits a two-out single to first and scores on Jordan Smith’s double to center.
But the Hillcats break it open when they score three in the fifth. Reyes leads off with a single to left, and then Matt Lipka hits a one-out infield single. Emerson Landoni follows with a two-run double to left, and then with two out Robby Hefflinger adds an RBI double to center.
Lynchburg adds two more on three hits and an error in the seventh.
The Mudcats show some life in the eighth. Lindor leads off with a double and scores on Smith’s one-out double.
And they make it a little closer in the ninth, as Zack MacPhee launches a one-out, first pitch homer down the right-field line.
Moore gets the quality start in the win, allowing a pair of runs on six hits in six innings and striking out seven against a walk.
Pasquale goes five in the loss, allowing five runs on eight hits with a strikeout against a pair of walks.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Wallace: “We’re digging ourselves too big of a hole early. Tonight we gave up some extra outs and we can’t do that. We don’t have the kind of team right now where we can make mistakes and not make plays on defense and expect to win. Four double plays were good. We knew Pasquale had a good sinker, and they did a good job with the ground balls.”
Sabourin: “I was seeing the ball pretty good today — it’s kind of day-to-day right now. With some pitchers on some days I see the ball pretty good and on other days I don’t. It was good though. It was a pretty good night offensively for us, but we’ve got to find a way to put pitching and hitting together on the same night.”
Smith: “It would have been nice to win the game, but it’s always nice to get hits. We’ve just got to score more runs and help our pitching out a little bit. We’re just starting our comebacks too late instead of fighting back from the start.”
What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats’ hole gets just a little deeper.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Landoni’s double in the fifth.
Mudcats: Lost 4.
Lynchburg: Won 4.
Lynchburg leads 4-0.
Mudcats (Cody Anderson 4-1, 2.93) vs. Salem (Mike Augliera 3-0, 3.67), Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.