ZEBULON, N.C. – Although they stole nine bases, the Down East Wood Ducks fell to the Carolina Mudcats, 5-4 Saturday night.
The Wood Ducks pushed four runs across the plate but managed only three hits and were one-for-nine with runners in scoring position.
Down East (17-11) opened the scoring in the top of the first to take the lead against Carolina starter Brock Begue. Jayce Easley led off with a walk. With one out, he stole second and then third. Dustin Harris worked a walk to put runners at the corners and Keyber Rodriguez hit a sac fly to score Easley for the 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long as the Carolina Mudcats (18-10) plated three runs in the bottom of the first and added an insurance run in the bottom of the second against Wood Ducks starter Nick Krauth, for the 4-1 lead.
The Woodies didn’t go away as they scored a run in the top of the third and top of the fourth to cut the deficit to 4-3. Easley reached on a throwing error by Mudcats shortstop Freddy Zamora. With one out, Easley stole second and advanced to third when Harris and Rodriguez worked back-to-back walks to load the bases. With two outs, Thomas Saggese worked a bases loaded walk to score Easley to bring the deficit to 4-2.
Keithron Moss started the top of the fourth with a single and stole second with one out and advanced to third on a throwing error by Carolina catcher Darrien Miller. Easley grounded out but Moss scored to pull the Wood Ducks to within one, 4-3.
Down East pulled even in the top of the seventh. Saggese worked a leadoff walk and stole second. Xavier Valentin doubled to score Saggese from second to pull the Wood Ducks and Mudcats even at four. Carolina again managed to pull ahead in the bottom of the sixth with a run to give them the 5-4 lead.
Krauth took the no-decision, pitching three innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Ben Anderson (L, 1-1) took the loss, allowing one run on three hits with three strikeouts in three innings of work. Marc Church pitched two shutout innings, allowing one hit and tallying three strikeouts.
The Wood Ducks and Mudcats conclude their series Sunday with first pitch set for 1 p.m. Down East will send RHP Mason Englert (1-1, 4.61) and Carolina will start LHP Brendan Murphy (2-0, 2.05)
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