ZEBULON, NC - Mario Feliciano had a game tying RBI single in the seventh and Tristen Lutz followed with a go-ahead three-run home run in the same frame as the Mudcats, playing as Pescados de Carolina for the final time, rallied to defeat the visiting Salem Red Sox 6-4 in front of a crowd of 5,152 at Five County Stadium on Friday night. Feliciano also hit his league leading 19th home run of the season for Carolina.
Carolina (21-27, 60-57) originally trailed 2-0 after two before Feliciano cut the Salem (26-21, 51-63) lead to 2-1 while connecting on his solo home run in the third. The Red Sox came back with a run in the fourth, but Carolina brought across an unearned run in the fifth before tying the game in the seventh on Feliciano's game tying knock to center. Lutz then followed with his go-ahead blast on the very next pitch while breaking the tie and putting Carolina up 6-3 in the seventh.
Salem's Ryan Fitzgerald later homered off reliever J.T. Hintzen in the eighth, but Anthony Bender went on to finish the game while earning his third save and locking up the 6-4 series opening victory for the Mudcats.
Feliciano went 3-for-5 with two runs, two RBI and a solo home run in the game for Carolina. His solo homer in the third brought his season total to a Carolina League leading 19 for the year. Feliciano's two RBI night, meanwhile, brought his season RBI total to a league leading 78.
Lutz went 1-for-5 with his home run counting for his 13th on the year and his second in as many games. The home run was also his first three-run blast of the 2019 season.
Hintzen (W, 1-2, 3.44) picked up the win for the Mudcats after working through the seventh and eighth with one run allowed on one hit. He allowed a home run for the third time in his last four games, but also struck out two while earning his first win of the season. Bender (S, 3) went on to work the ninth and left a runner on while finishing off his third save with a strikeout to end the game.
Reliever Zach Schellenger took the loss and suffered the blown save for the Salem Sox after losing a 3-2 in the seventh and after allowing four Carolina runs on two hits. He gave up Feliciano's game tying single and Lutz's go-ahead homer in the seventh, but went on to hit Payton Henry with a pitch following the home run and was ejected from the game. Salem Manager Corey Wimberly was also ejected from the game moments after Schellenger (L, 1-1, BS, 7.07) was tossed.
Jhonathan Diaz started for the Red Sox and pitched through five and 2/3 innings with two runs (one earned) allowed on two hits. He also struck out four and hit three batters before leaving the game after reaching 94 pitches (51 strikes). Schellenger followed Diaz in the sixth and originally got the Red Sox out of the frame while leaving an inherited runner on base. He went on, however, to allow four Carolina runs in the seventh before being ejected. Reliever Andrew Schwaab followed and retired two to finish the seventh. Dominic LoBrutto later pitched a scoreless eighth and struck out three.
Christian Taugner started for Carolina and ended up with his second straight quality start after holding Salem to three earned run on six hits over six innings. Taugner did not earn a decision and ended up with two walks against six strikeouts.
The victory was Carolina's third straight and came in the opener of the club's three-game home series versus Salem. The series will continue on Saturday night with RHP Matt Smith (4-9, 3.69) getting the start for the Mudcats.
The game will air live on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio. The game will also stream live in full high-definition video on MiLB.tv via Minor League Baseball's subscription service.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.