ZEBULON, N.C. – A wild way to end a 10-game road trip as the BayBears hold off the Carolina Mudcats 7-5 in 10 frames on Saturday night at Five County Stadium. Both teams featured ninth-inning rallies with the BayBears striking for the two winning runs in the top of the 10th.
It was a 4-3 Carolina (12-18) advantage entering the ninth inning, but the BayBears (19-11) turned up the heat immediately as Cyle Hankerd and Orlando Mercado singled to start the frame against Sean Watson. After a sac bunt and intentional walk, the stage was set for pinch-hitter Chris Rahl who was robbed of a game-tying hit by a diving stab in left-center from Chris Heisey.
With two outs and two strikes, Evan Frey smashed a single to center to score Hankerd and Mercado, putting the BayBears on top. Scott Maine (1-0) fanned the first two hitters he faced in the ninth before a walk and hit batsman allowed Juan Francisco to tie the game on a single to left-center. Todd Frazier struck out looking and was ejected the following inning for incessant arguing of the call.
From there, Gerardo Parra singled and Ricardo Sosa was hit by a pitch to put the first two men on again for the BayBears. After another sac bunt, Parra scored on a passed ball while Sosa was brought home on a base hit by Mercado. Daniel Stange (S, 5) worked a scoreless 10th to preserve the win.
Bryan Augenstein started for the BayBears and tossed three perfect innings before a 1-hour, 33-minute rain delay pulled him from the game. Peter Clifford had a solid night with three hits and three RBI including a two-run homer after the delay in the fourth inning.
The Bear Essentials
* Clay Zavada and Scott Maine both blew saves in this back-and-forth contest
* Orlando Mercado has made the most of sparse playing time this year; he owns a .349 BA and .963 OPS in 43 at-bats
* Mercado, Clifford, and Parra each collected three hits in the game
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