Harber tosses two-hit shutout; Griep sets saves record in twin bill sweep

Nate Griep earned his franchise record 29th save in game 2 of Saturday's doubleheader

By Carolina Mudcats | September 2, 2017 10:44 PM

ZEBULON, N.C. - Conor Harber spun a complete game, two-hit shutout in game one and Nate Griep closed out game two while earning his franchise record 29th save as the Mudcats swept the Pelicans 4-0 and 4-3 in Saturday's doubleheader at Five County Stadium.

Harber (4-9, 5.04) struck out three, walked two and scattered two hits while leading the Mudcats (71-65, 35-33) to a 4-0 shutout victory in game one of Saturday's twin bill. It was his firs career complete game and resulted in a season high 77 game score. Harber held the Pelicans (73-65, 30-38) without a hit through the fourth and faced just three over the minimum in what his best and final start of the season.

Carolina took a 3-0 lead early in game one after Wendell Rijo and Trent Clark rallied for run scoring hits in the third. Rijo had a two-run single in the third and finished the game 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Clark also had a run scoring single in the doubleheader opener and was 1-for-4 in game out of the leadoff spot. Clark later went 2-for-3 in game two with two runs and an intentional walk. His walk in the sixth inning of game two was his franchise record 98th of the season. Tracy Sanders set the previous Mudcats record with 97 walks in 1997.

The Mudcats scored their fourth and final run of game one in the fifth when Weston Wilson forced in Monte Harrison from second after reaching on a fielding error. Harrison scored once and was 1-for-3 in game one. Wilson also scored once and also went 1-for-4 in game.

Duncan Robinson started the first game for Myrtle Beach and ended up suffering the loss after allowing all four Carolina runs over four and 2/3 innings pitched. Robinson (4-4, 2.37) also gave up seven hits, walked three and struck out four.

Carolina also scored first later in game two of Saturday's doubleheader and did so after getting a run across on a two-out RBI single from Jose Cuas. They then added a run on a RBI double from Harrison in the third and led 2-0 on starter Thomas Hatch and the Pelicans. 

The Pelicans came back in the fourth, however, and managed to tie game at 2-2 after loading the bases and scoring twice against Carolina starter Marcos Diplan. Jesse Hodges started the fourth with a double and later scored from third after Diplan (7-8, 5.23) gave up a RBI double to Eddy Martinez. He also walked in the tying run after issuing a bases loaded base on balls to Connor Myers in the fourth.

The game was tied 2-2 after the fourth, but Diplan returned for one more frame and managed to work through a scoreless fifth before leaving the game. His offense rewarded his scoreless frame with a two run rally while taking a 4-2 lead in the game. Wilson knocked in both of Carolina's two runs in the fifth and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in game two. 

Carolina led 4-2 heading into the sixth, but went on to get within one of the lead after rallying for a run off set up man Wuilder Rodriguez. Tyler Pearson started the sixth with a double and later scored on a fly out to right. Rodriguez retired two in his appearance and allowed one run on one hit. 

Griep (S, 29) finished the eighth and then went on to work through a scoreless ninth while recording his franchise record 29th save of the season. Chris Mobley set the previous Mudcats record of 28 saves in 2008. Griep also set a franchise record for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers during the 2016 season after finishing with 23 saves last year. 

The four out save marked the third time that Griep closed out a game when needing more than three outs. He allowed a double to Viamel Machin (just the fifth hit allowed by Griep to a left-handed hitter this season, 5-for-45) to start the seventh, but went on to induce his 11th double play of the season while working through the final frame and facing only three batters.

The doubleheader sweep brought the Mudcats to 8-8 in twin bills this season and stretched their current winning streak to five straight games. It also lifted the Mudcats to a perfect 5-0 in the final home stand of the 2017 season.

Despite the victories, Carolina was indeed eliminated from post-season contention after the Buies Creek Astros defeated the Down East Wood Ducks 1-0 in game one of a doubleheader earlier in the day.

UP NEXT: The Mudcats continue their final stretch of home games on Sunday night at Five County Stadium with game three of four versus the Pelicans. Sunday's game will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by post-game fireworks presented by Sears Home Services. The game will air 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 via video on MiLB.tv.

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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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