ZEBULON, N.C. - Mario Feliciano launched a walk-off, three-run, home run with two-outs in the ninth to lift the Mudcats to a 9-7 victory versus the Pelicans on Saturday night at Five County Stadium. Feliciano also hit a two-run home run in the eighth while going 3-for-5 with three runs, two home runs and five RBI in the series clinching victory for Carolina.
The Force was strong for Feliciano on what was Star Wars Night in Zebulon as he set career highs for home runs, runs and RBI for the Mudcats (21-14). The right-handed hitting Feliciano homered twice including a two-run shot to right in the eighth and the walk-off to right in the ninth. He also scored three times and totaled five RBI while leading the way in the Return of the Mudcats versus the Pelicans (12-24).
The high-scoring ballgame at Five County Stadium began with just two runs combined over the first five innings. Those first two runs were scored by Tristen Lutz as he homered in the first for the Mudcats and Tyler Payne as he came across for the Pelicans on a run scoring ground out hit by Jhonny Bethencourt in the second.
The game was locked at 1-1 through the fifth before both offenses broke out with three runs in the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. That 1-1 tie held through the fifth as starters Braden Webb and Luis Lugo pitched their way through five solid frames in the game.
Webb started for Carolina and allowed one run on just two hits over five innings. He also walked four and struck out three in his first start with Carolina this season. Lugo worked through the fifth, but ended up leaving the game after facing three batters in the sixth. Lugo struck out seven and ended up allowing three runs and four hits over five and 1/3 in his start for the Pelicans.
Reliever Matt Hardy allowed all three Myrtle Beach runs in the sixth while seeing the 1-1 tie slip away. Hardy started the sixth with a strikeout, but then gave up a double to Grant Fennell, a RBI bloop single to Aramis Ademan and then a two-run home run with two outs to Kevonte Mitchell.
The Pelicans led 4-1 in the sixth before Carolina rallied back with three runs on four hits to tie the game at 4-4. Those four Carolina hits in the sixth were made up of a leadoff double by Joantgel Segovia, a RBI double from Lutz, a single from Feliciano and a run scoring double from Rob Henry. Lutz also scored on a wild pitch let loose by reliever Jesus Camargo in Carolina's three run sixth.
Camargo entered the game in place of Lugo who had originally begun the rainy sixth with a 4-1 lead. The Mudcats rallied throughout the steady rainfall to come back and tie the game, but that tie was short-lived as Fennell hit a three-run homer off reliever Chris Dula in the seventh.
The Pelicans scored six runs off the Carolina bullpen between the sixth and seventh and had a 7-4 lead entering the eighth. Hardy struck out three, but allowed three runs on three hits in the sixth, while Dula gave up three runs on two hits in the seventh.
Camargo remained on the mound for the Pelicans in the seventh and was able to hold their lead through that frame before handing the game over to fellow reliever Ben Hecht in the eighth. Hecht held the lead through the eighth, but also gave up Feliciano's two run homer as Carolina pulled within one of the lead.
Ryan Kellogg (1-2, 2.35) then came in for the ninth and would end up allowing the winning runs across on Feliciano's walk-off to right. Devin Hairston started the ninth by reaching on an error and Ryan Aguilar eventually followed with a one-out single to left. The Pelicans then botched a double play ball hit by Lutz to short as they retired just Aguilar at second while allowing Lutz to reach safely. With Hairston at third and Lutz at first, Feliciano came through with his second home run in as many innings to win the game.
Rodrigo Benoit (2-0, 0.69) pitched a scoreless ninth for the Mudcats and earned the victory. Clayton Andrews, meanwhile, worked a scoreless eighth and struck out two.
NOTES: The last walk-off home run hit for the Mudcats came a month ago on April 11 when Dallas Carroll also hit a game-winning three-run homer in the ninth to defeat Wilmington 7-6… Ryan Aguilar went 1-for-5 with a single in his final at bat, stretching his consecutive games on base streak to 24 straight.
UP NEXT: The Mudcats will next play on Sunday at Five County Stadium as they take on the Pelicans in the finale of both a three game series with Myrtle Beach and the finale of a six game home stand. RHP Dylan File (2-3, 3.48) will start for Carolina in Sunday's 2:00 p.m. game as the Mudcats try for a home sweep versus Myrtle Beach.
The game will air live on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio. It will also stream in live HD video via paid subscription on MiLB.tv.
# # #
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.