KINSTON, N.C. – Ashton McGee hit his first home run of the season and Joey Wiemer forced in two runs as the Mudcats took Sunday’s series finale with the Wood Ducks 3-1 at Grainger Stadium in Kinston. The victory gave Carolina its third win of the series and an overall series split at Down East.
The Wood Ducks (9-3) scored first, but Carolina (8-4) managed to tie the game in the fourth before taking the lead in the sixth and adding an insurance run in the ninth. The victory kept the Mudcats just one game back of the first place Wood Ducks in the Low-A East Central standings.
Trailing 1-0, the Mudcats managed to tie the game in the fourth after Joe Gray Jr. started the frame with a single before scoring on a double play hit into by Wiemer. Gray also stole second and advanced to third on a double by Ernesto Martinez in the fourth before coming across.
Carolina went on to break the 1-1 tie in the sixth when Wiemer drove in Noah Campbell from second with a single to center. Campbell started the inning with a single and moved to second when Martinez walked.
McGee provided insurance and put Carolina up 3-1 in the ninth after connecting on his first home run of the season. The McGee big fly was a solo shot that came off reliever Leury Tejeda.
McGee led the way after going 2-for-4 with a home run, a run and a RBI. Leadoff man Gabe Holt stole a bag for the first time in his career and went 1-for-4 overall. Both Campbell and Gray went 1-for-4 with a run apiece. Martinez was 1-for-2 with a double and Wiemer went 1-for-3 with a RBI.
Mason Englert started for the Wood Ducks and allowed a run on three hits over four innings pitched. He also walked one and struck out four. Nic Laio took the loss after allowing Carolina’s go-ahead run in the sixth. Laio (2-1, 0.93) also struck out four, walked one and allowed a run on four hits. Tejeda worked the final two frames and allowed McGee’s homer.
Jhoan Cruz started and picked up the win after scattering seven hits, allowing just one run and totaling two strikeouts over five and 1/3 innings. Miguel Guerrero followed Cruz (1-0, 3.95) and recorded two outs in the sixth before giving way to Brock Begue who went on to record two scoreless frames. Begue also got the Wood Ducks to hit into a double play with the bags full in the seventh. Cam Robinson (S, 2) finished the game after taking over Begue and worked out of a first and third jam while holding the Wood Ducks scoreless and earning his second save.
The lone Down East run came in the second when Jayce Easley scored Cristian Inoa with a single to deep short. Inoa was 1-for-4 in the game, Easley went 1-for-2 and Xavier Valentin was 2-for-4 with a double.
Carolina’s 3-1 victory came in the final game of the series and gave the Mudcats a series split as both teams took three games in the six-game set. The series additionally featured several low scoring affairs as all but one game was separated by two runs or less.
The Mudcats are off on Monday, but will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Delmarva to take on the Shorebirds at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. The game will mark the first ever meeting between the two teams.