by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats play the finale of their five-game set with the Chattanooga Lookouts and their 26th meeting with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ affiliates this season.
Both teams desperately need wins, as the Mudcats are eight games behind the first-place Tennessee Smokies and Chattanooga 9 ½ games back with 25 games to go.
The heat’s still on as the game-time temperature is 93.
Carolina’s ace lefty Tom Cochran (7-5) is on the hill against Chattanooga’s Rubby De La Rosa (1-0). The Mudcats are still without Luis Terrero, serving the fourth of his five-game suspension resulting from Saturday’s brawl.
Chattanooga wins 5-2 in 10 innings, taking its third straight victory to claim the series.
Both pitchers are definitely on to start the game.
Chattanooga gets on the board in the third as Alex Garabedian leads off with a single to right and scores on Elian Herrera’s one-out sacrifice bunt.
The Mudcats take the lead in the fifth. Carlos Mendez leads off with a single up the middle and advances on a bad throw from second baseman Jaime Pedroza. Then with two out Kris Negron walks before Felix Perez rockets a two-run double past short.
Chattanooga comes back to tie it up in the sixth as Herrera draws a leadoff walk and scores on a two-out passed ball.
And the Lookouts win it in the 10th off Brad Boxberger. Travis Denker draws a leadoff walk, advancing on a one-out single to right from pinch hitter Eddy Perez. Dee Gordon reaches on a bunt single before Herrera bounces a two-run single over third. Trayvon Robinson follows with an RBI double to left and it’s 5-2.
Herrera knocks in three runs for the winners, who are outhit 9-8. De La Rosa goes seven innings and allows two runs — one earned — on seven hits with seven strikeouts against two walks. Javy Guerra (2-0) gets the win and Mario Alvarez his first save.
Cochran is steady once again, allowing two runs — one earned — on four hits with six strikeouts against four walks. Boxberger falls to 1-3. Felix Perez finishes with the double and both RBI, while Kris Negron and Sean Henry chip in two hits each for the hosts.
Here’s what they said …
Mudcats manager David Bell: “Boxberger actually threw the ball really well. He ran into the wrong guys in the lineup — a couple of guys got on base and they just kind of manufactured the runs after that. Cochran threw the ball well. He had a good fastball, good fastball location, good change, a couple of good breaking balls to left-handed hitters. It was his normal good outing.”
Chattanooga manager Carlos Subero: “It was a good ball game. Ruddy threw the ball well again, a great pitching forward again by a young kid. Good job on a safety squeeze by Herrera, and then he got the key hit to give us two runs. Cochran did a good job for them. He’s been doing a good job all year. We’ve got to go get (Tennessee) now. It’s game-to-game. You’ve got to throw what you’ve got that day and try to win that one and come back the next day and go again.”
Cochran: “Everything went well. I’d been in a little rut since the All-Star Break and it was time to break out of it. I tried to stay in there as long as I could because I knew our bullpen was beat up a little bit and having to throw a lot of innings here and there. I tried to give everything I had. I definitely had more command of everything tonight, and our fielders played well behind us.”
What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats are nine out with 24 left, and need a major miracle.
Stars of the game
2. De La Rosa.
Play of the game
Herrera’s two-run single in the 10th.
Carolina: Lost 3.
Chattanooga: Won 3.
Mudcats at Jacksonville, 7:05 p.m.
Travis Webb (L, 6-7, 4.91) vs. TBA
Tennessee at Chattanooga, 7:15 p.m.
TBA vs. Brent Leach (L, 5-3, 3.70)