by Mike Potter
Going into a pivotal day in their chances to win the first-half title in the Southern League's North Division, the Carolina Mudcats got off to a rough start but had a very nice finish.
Juan Francisco (pictured) had three hits and four RBI, including a two-run blast in the seventh inning that was his 13th homer of the season, as the Mudcats topped the host Tennessee Smokies 6-3 in the nightcap of a doubleheader. Travis Wood was the winning pitcher while Sean Watson collected the save. Here's the happy box score.
Clemson alum Tyler Colvin led off the 12th inning with a homer, giving the host Smokies a rain-delayed 7-6 victory in the opener. Colvin homered twice in the game, which was interrupted by rain for over two hours in the 10th inning. Here are the numbers.
The results, combined with Birmingham's 5-4 victory over Huntsville in which the Barons scored two in the ninth, left Carolina a mere half-game out of first place.
Huntsville plays a 6 p.m. doubleheader at Birmingham on Friday, while the Mudcats take on Tennessee at 7:15 at Smokies Park. Southpaw Tom Cochran (1-0, 1.72) will start for Carolina against right-hander Hung-Wen Chen (3-5, 6.19).
The half ends Sunday.