WILMINGTON, DE. - Keston Hiura had three hits, Clint Coulter reached base safely in all four at-bats and Conor Harber struck out six over four innings in relief, but starter Marcos Diplan walked five while allowing four runs in two innings as the Mudcats lost 5-1 in Wilmington to the Blue Rocks on Monday night.
Diplan (0-1, 4.97) took the loss in Monday's series opener after allowing four runs on three hits and five walks in just two innings pitched. He lost a 1-0 lead in the first after giving up back-to-back singles, before later allowing two runs to score on two bases loaded walks.
Diplan eventually worked his way out of the first, but later gave up a run scoring double in the second, allowing the Blue Rocks (5-6) to take a 4-1 lead. In all, Diplan used 62 pitches (30 strikes) over the first two innings and fell one walk shy of matching a career high for walks in a start while suffering the loss.
Gabriel Cancel had Wilmington's two-run double in the second and was 2-for-4 in the game with two RBI and a run scored. The first two Wilmington runs, meanwhile, scored when Chris DeVito and Chase Vallot both walked with the bases loaded in the first. Rudy Martin and Cancel both started the Wilmington first with hits and then scored on the two bases loaded walks allowed by Diplan.
The Mudcats (6-6) did score first in the loss and did so after Hiura singled and scored on a two-out RBI double from Ronnie Gideon in the first inning. Both hits came off Blue Rocks' starter Cristian Castillo who pitched through the fifth with just one run allowed on five hits. Castillo (1-1, 3.52) also walked two and struck out five while earning his first win of the season.
The Mudcats did have some bright spots in the loss as Hiura went 3-for-5 with a run while putting together Carolina's only multi-hit game. Gideon's run scoring double was the first of two doubles in the game as Coulter also doubled in the third. Coulter, additionally, walked twice and was hit by a pitch while reaching base safely in all four of his at-bats.
Harber followed Diplan and gave the Mudcats four strong innings out of the bullpen. He allowed a run in the fifth, but also struck out six (including three in the third), walked two and gave up three hits while pitching through the sixth.
Miguel Sanchez later pitched the seventh and eighth for the Mudcats and held the Blue Rocks scoreless while striking out one. Beyond Harber and Sanchez's strong relief efforts, the Mudcats additionally received a solid performance out of catcher Max McDowell who caught two more baserunners attempting to steal in the game. McDowell has now caught 10 of 12 would be base stealers so far this season.
Relievers Justin Camp and Walker Sheller both worked through two scoreless frames following Castillo's victorious start. Camp gave up one hit and struck out two over the sixth and seventh innings. Sheller then pitched the eighth and ninth and gave up one hit and struck out five while finishing the game.
With the victory, the Blue Rocks took a 1-0 lead in the series and dropped the Mudcats to just 1-4 in their current road trip. The series will continue Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. in Wilmington and will feature a starting pitching match-up of RHP Trey Supak (0-0, 0.90) going for the Mudcats against RHP Jace Vines (0-2, 12.91) and the Blue Rocks. The game will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio. It will also stream via live 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.