by Mike Potter
They’ve won the first two of the series against the Winston-Salem Dash — the first in a rout and the second with an eighth-inning comeback — and will look for the sweep on a proverbial perfect spring afternoon for baseball. The Dash was not swept last year.
Southpaw Shawn Morimando (7-6, 3.59 at Lake County last season) will take on the Dash’s Chris Beck (4-3, 4.69 at Great Falls).
Things remain so far, so good for the Mudcats, who get six runs out of six hits in their 6-2 win to complete the sweep.
Both pitchers get off to solid beginnings before the home team jumps on Beck in the fifth.
Jerrud Sabourin leads off by reaching on a two-base error to Joey DeMichele at second, followed by Joey Wendle’s RBI single to right. Jake Lowery walks and Justin Toole moves the runners with a sacrifice bunt before Tyler Naquin’s RBI grounder to second and Francisco Lindor’s RBI double down the line in left to chase the starter.
The Mudcats tag on another off Stephen Upchurch in the sixth as Anthony Gallas draws a one-out walk, takes third on Sabourin’s double to right and scores on Wendle’s sacrifice fly to right.
Winston-Salem breaks through with one out in the seventh off Francisco Jimenez, as Chris Curley lifts a 1-1 offering over the wall in right.
Winston-Salem cuts it to 4-2 in the eighth, as Curley lifts Enosil Tejeda’s one-out, 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall.
But Wendle puts it away off Jeremy Urban in the bottom of the frame. Gallas draws a one-out walk before Wendle deposits a two-out, 3-2 pitch high over the right-field wall to make it 6-2.
Wendle finishes with the homer and a single and four RBI while Lindor adds in a double and a single with an RBI as the Mudcats make the most of their six hits.
Morimondo allows two hits with a strikeout and four walks in four shutout innings, before Jimenez comes in for three solid innings to get the win and Tejada for two to pick up the save.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Wallace: “It’s a good start. I’m proud of the guys and how they’ve come out of the gates focused. We’ve won these three games, and I’ve been impressed with the way we’ve put together at-bats. The defense has been outstanding and the pitchers have been attacking hitters.”
Wendle: “I just went up there battling. (On the home run) I was down in the count and just started looking for a mistake. I went to rip it. I just got a fastball, middle-in, and I was able to drive it.”
Lindor: “It was a great series for us. We’ve been playing together for the first three games and we’ve been winning, so we’re all happy. We’ve been doing our job and taking care of business.”
What does it all mean?
That at least through three games, the Mudcats are just as good as advertised.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Mudcats: Won 3.
Winston-Salem: Lost 4.
Mudcats lead 3-0.
Mudcats (Will Roberts 5-10, 5.68 in 2012) vs. Wilmington (Angel Baez 6-5, 3.17 at Kane County), 7:15 p.m.)