MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - Marcos Diplan pitched into the seventh with six strikeouts, Monte Harrison drove in a run and scored once while going 3-for-5 and Lucas Erceg went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and a RBI, but the Mudcats finished a game shy of a sweep after losing 6-5 in extras in the final game of a three game series in Myrtle Beach.
The Mudcats (66-65, 30-33) had a 4-1 lead entering the last of the eighth, but the Pelicans (71-62, 28-35) came back with two in the eighth and one in the ninth to eventually force extras in Sunday's series finale in Myrtle Beach. Carolina scored once more in the tenth to reclaim the lead, but the Pelicans answered with two in the last of tenth to walk off with the 6-5 victory.
The loss came in the final game of Carolina's three game series in Myrtle Beach, leaving the Mudcats a win shy of a series sweep over the Pelicans. It also snapped Carolina's win streak at four straight and dropped the Mudcats to 5.5 games back of first in the second half playoff race. Carolina's elimination number fell to two with seven games left after Sunday's last at-bat loss in Myrtle Beach.
Luke Barker pitched the tenth for the Mudcats and allowed two hits, two walks and two runs (one earned) while suffering the loss and a blown save. Barker (BS, 1)(L, 1-1) started the frame by giving up a single to Tyler Alamo, before then walking Eddy Martinez and then seeing Tyler Pearson reach on a force attempt. Barker then walked Roberto Caro to force in the tying run and then gave up a game winning, walk-off single to Connor Myers. Myers also had a clutch double in the ninth and was 2-for-5 with a RBI in the game for Myrtle Beach.
Pedro Araujo (5-1, 1.90) earned the victory for the Pelicans despite allowing the go-ahead run to score in the tenth. Erceg scored the go-ahead off Araujo after doubling and moving to third on a throwing error from left. He later scored on a wild pitch in the tenth to give the Mudcats a 5-4 lead .
It was the Mudcats who scored first in Sunday's series finale after Cooper Hummel forced in Trent Clark with a bases loaded ground out to second in the opening frame. Clark started the game with a walk and his first inning run gave the Mudcats a 1-0 lead.
Clark finished the game 0-for-3 with two walks; bringing his season total to Carolina League high 95 base on balls this season. Clark is currently just two walks shy of matching the Mudcats' franchise record for walk in a season (97 BB, Tracy Sanders, 1998).
Thomas Hatch started for the Pelicans and allowed just the one first inning run while pitching through the fifth. Hatch finished his outing with one run allowed on two hits and struck out two.
Diplan, meanwhile, started for Carolina and also allowed just one run, but did so over six and 2/3 innings. He also struck out six, scattered six hits and did not issue a walk while pitching to a season high 71 game score.
Carolina had a 1-0 lead through three, but later saw it disappear when Jesse Hodges tripled and scored a run in the fourth. The game was then tied at 1-1 through the sixth, but the Mudcats eventually took a 2-1 lead when Jose Cuas brought in Luis Aviles with a RBI single in the seventh. The go-ahead knock came off reliever Scott Effross and was the first of three runs allowed in by the Pelicans' reliever.
Carolina extended its lead to 4-1 in the eighth when Corey Ray, Harrison and Erceg all reached on consecutive hits against Effross to open the frame. Ray and Harrison had back-to-back doubles and Erceg capped the rally with a run scoring single while going 2-for-4 with a run and a RBI. Harrison was 3-for-5 with a run and a RBI as well and Ray finished the game 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Reliever Frank Lopez followed Diplan in the seventh and managed to end the frame with a strikeout of Myers, but then gave up two runs and two hits in the eighth. He was eventually followed by Brad Kuntz who ended up allowing an inherited runner to score in the eighth (on a wild pitch) and a run of his own in the ninth over and inning and 1/3 while suffering the blown save.
The road loss handed the Mudcats just their second loss during their final road trip of the regular season. The trip began with a loss in Winston-Salem, but also included four victories as Carolina finished the trip at 4-2.
UP NEXT: The Mudcats next take on the Winston-Salem Dash on Tuesday, August 29 at Five County Stadium in Zebulon. Tuesday's game will be the first of a three game series against the Dash and game one of Carolina's final homestand of the season. 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.