by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It’s the final day of the first half in the Southern League, and both the Carolina Mudcats and Mississippi Braves are looking for momentum.
Both starting pitchers are looking to make something good happen heading into Monday’s off day as lefty Matt Fairel (1-2) goes for the Mudcats against Jacob Thompson (3-5).
Mississippi takes a four-run lead before the Mudcats score single runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth, but the Braves hold on to win it 5-4.
Mississippi jumps on Fairel first, as leadoff man Antoan Richardson triples to the right-field corner and then Alejandro Machado blasts a 3-1 offering over the left-field wall just inside the foul pole.
Sean Henry halves the difference with two out in the bottom of the first, blasting a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall.
The M-Braves tack on another run in the third. Richardson and Machado draw back-to-back walks, and then execute a double steal before Willie Cabrera hits an RBI grounder to short.
And the visitors add two more in the sixth. With one out, Donell Linares doubles to left and scores on Michael Daniel’s double to right to chase Fairel. Federico Baez gets a strikeout and issues a walk to Chris Anderson. Daniel, who has stolen third, scores when Anderson is caught in a rundown.
The Mudcats cut it to 5-2 in the seventh, as Brandon Yarbrough leads off with a double to right and scores on Eric Eymann’s double to right.
They add another in the eighth off Benino Pruneda, as Henry hits a one-out triple to right and scores on a wild pitch. And one more in the ninth, as Eymann hits a one-out double to left and scores on Chris McMurray’s double to center before Thomas Palica completes the save.
Thompson goes 6 2/3 and allows two runs on six hits with six strikeouts against two walks in the win. Machado and Richardson each finish with two hits.
Henry finishes with the homer and triple for the Mudcats while Eymann goes 2-for-3 with the two doubles and the RBI.
They said it …
Mudcats manager David Bell: “We keep coming back, so it’s good. We would like to have had a better record in the first half, but a lot of great things happened. We’re excited to get another chance in the second half. We’ll take all the good things that have happened and move on from here. When things don’t come easy sometimes really good things are on the other side. We just had a couple of rough weeks and we can’t let that happen again.”
Mississippi manager Phillip Wellman: “That’s the first series we’ve won in a while, so it feels pretty good. This was a great way to end the first half. We’ve been hitting a little better over the last couple of weeks and hope we can keep it up.”
Henry: “I think our comebacks have been a good sign. I think we’re going to have a pretty good second half.”
What does it all mean?
That it’s a good time for a reset.
Play of the game
Daniel’s scamper home during the rundown in the sixth.
Stars of the game
Mississippi leads 3-2.
Carolina: Lost 2.
Mississippi: Won 2.
Mudcats at Tennessee, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.
Matt Klinker (R, 4-4, 1.82) vs. TBA
Mobile at Mississippi, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.
Pat McAnaney (L, 2-5, 4.79) vs. Scott Diamond (L, 2-3, 4.04)