by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are on a bit of a roll as they approach the end of the Southern League’s first half, while the Mississippi Braves are reeling.
It’s another warm night as the Mudcats play the second of their five-game series with the Atlanta Braves affiliate.
And lefty Travis Webb (2-4) will take the hill for Carolina against Erik Cordier (4-4).
It’s not a good night for the Mudcats’ pitching staff, as Mississippi gets season highs in both runs and hits - with 21 - in a 17-8 romp.
Mississippi rallies with two out in the first, as after Willie Cabrera reaches on a fielder’s choice Mauro Gomez hits an RBI double to left followed by Donell Linares’ RBI single to left.
And the Braves stretch it to 5-0 with another two-out rally in the second. Cordier singles to left and takes third on Antoan Richardson’s double to right before Alejandro Machado blasts the next pitch over the left-field wall.
It gets worse in the third. Concepcion Rodriguez smacks a double to right, and then with one out Jesus Sucre singles to left. Cordier hits an RBI single to left and that’s all for Webb. Richardson greets Daryl Harang with an RBI double to left and it’s 7-0.
Mississippi doubles its lead in the fourth, but the Mudcats finally get two in the bottom of the frame with the centerpiece of the rally a Mike Costanzo double.
The M-Braves get three more in the fifth but the Mudcats answer with five in the bottom of the frame, with the big hit Brandon Yarbrough’s three-run double.
And reliever Lee Tabor plays the hero for the Mudcats in the sixth as he puts up a zero.
The game proceeds, and the teams get through nine innings without a single error.
Cordier goes 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored, while Machado finishes with three hits and three RBI and Cabrera three doubles for four RBI.
Sappelt leads Carolina’s 14-hit attack with a triple, double and single while Jake Kahaulelio chips in a homer and a single for two RBI and Yarbrough finishes with four RBI.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Bell: “It was just one of those nights. It’s a tough night for our pitchers. I know you’ve heard it before but it was just one game. Those things happen. You just have to come back the next night and do better. At least when we got behind like that our guys kept playing. You just keep trying to win. That’s the only way to approach it.”
Mississippi skipper Phillip Wellman: “It was a good way to end that losing streak. Cordier is one of our better hitting pitchers, and he hit the ball good tonight. We’ve struggled offensively a lot in the first half, and hopefully we can get off to a good start in the second. Hopefully we can win a few games here and set ourselves up to take off. We haven’t had a game like this all year, and it was good to see.”
Cordier: “I’m not going to make the big leagues as a hitter. I’m disappointed in the way I pitched, but I’m happy and a little bit lucky that my team picked me up. 17 runs is pretty damn impressive. The 4-for-4 is pretty cool, but I’d rather have had a quality start. It’s been a long time since I’ve hit. I’ve been begging for pinch-hit at-bats and maybe I’ll get one now.”
What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats’ starting pitching is just not very deep after Matt Klinker and Tom Cochran, and that Mississippi may not be the worst hitting team in the league after all.
Play of the game
Machado’s homer in the second.
Stars of the game
Carolina: Lost 1.
Mississippi: Won 1.
Carolina: Promoted LHP Philippe Valiquette to Louisville. LHP Joe Krebs and RHP Federico Baez sent down from Louisville.
Mississippi at Mudcats, 7:15 p.m.
Brandon Beachey (R, 1-1, 1.43) vs. Scott Carroll (1-2, 1.82)