by Mike Potter
So far this season, the Carolina Mudcats own the team that was the best in the Southern League last year.
Jake Kahaulelio (pictured) knocked in the tying run and scored the winner.
Meanwhile the Durham Bulls had a tough night at Norfolk, falling 12-3 at Harbor Park, and will try for a split of the four-game set today.
The Mudcats will play their home opener Wednesday night at Five County Stadium against the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Following the Norfolk series, the Bulls will visit Gwinnett for three games before hosting the Tides on Thursday night in their opener at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Mudcats 3, Birmingham 2
Four straight hits were all the Mudcats needed to bust up a shutout and send the Barons home unhappy again.
Jose Castro’s single began the rally against loser Jacob Rasner, followed by an RBI double from Chris Denove. Kahaulelio’s double tied the score, and Sean Danielson’s single to right scored Kahaulelio with the winner.
Denis Phipps doubled for the Mudcats, who got one hit apiece from six players.
Lee Cruz’s single provided the only RBI for Birmingham, which had five hits.
Starter Tom Cochran earned the win for Carolina, while Jordan Smith collected his second save.
Norfolk 12, Bulls 3
Brandon Snyder had three hits including a double for three RBI as the Tides buried the Bulls with a 14-hit attack.
Josh Bell added three hits including a double for an RBI for Norfolk, which also got a double and a single for three RBI from Robert Andino.
Chris George was the winning pitcher in relief for Norfolk, while Bulls starter Jeff Bennett took the loss.
Chris Richard led the Bulls with his first homer of the season and a single, while Fernando Perez tripled and singled and John Jaso doubled and singled.
Bulls at Norfolk, 1:15 p.m.
Virgil Vasquez (R, 7-4, 6.36 at Indianapolis) vs. Troy Patton (L, 1-3, 6.45)
Mudcats at Birmingham, 3:05 p.m.
Daryl Thompson (1-2, 6.59 at Louisville) vs. TBA