ZEBULON, N.C. - Mario Feliciano went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI, Wes Rogers scored four runs while going 2-for-3, Ryan Aguilar went 2-for-4 with a two-run double in the eighth and Noah Zavolas earned the win as Carolina held on to win its fifth straight game 6-5 on Monday night versus Lynchburg.
Carolina (11-8, 50-38) led from start to finish in the game after scoring once in the first. They also led 2-1 after the fourth, were up 4-1 after the seventh and led 6-1 entering the ninth before allowing four late Lynchburg (11-8, 43-43) runs in the ninth. Those four runs cut the Carolina lead to 6-5 and were allowed in by reliever Rodrigo Benoit. Fellow reliever Justin Topa, however, eventually came in and left one of two inherited runners on base with two groundouts while closing out his first save of the season.
Zavolas (W, 5-3, 2.87) started and earned the win for the Mudcats after allowing just one run on five hits over five and 1/3 innings pitched. Zavolas walked two, struck out three and stranded seven men on base between the second and fourth innings.
Carolina started the game with back-to-back bunt hits from Rogers and Aguilar, but it was Feliciano who drove in the first run of the game as he connected on a two-out RBI double in the opening frame to put the Mudcats up 1-0.
That lone first inning run stretched Carolina's current streak of scoring at least one run in the first to five straight games. Rogers has led off in all five of those games and has scored a run in four of the five.
The Mudcats later went up 2-0 in the game in the third when Feliciano came through again with his second two-out run scoring double of the game. The double scored Rogers who had singled and stole second moments earlier.
The Carolina lead was cut to 2-1 in the fourth after the Hillcats rallied for a run against Zavolas, but that one run lead held through the seventh after reliever Michael Petersen worked an inning and 2/3 scoreless while entering out of the bullpen. Petersen walked a couple, allowed just one hit and struck out two. His final strikeout came with runners at first and third in the seventh.
The Mudcats then took a 4-1 lead after finally breaking through again with a two-run frame against reliever Dakody Clemmer in the seventh. Rogers scored the first of those two runs after reaching on a two-out walk and advancing all the way from first to the plate on an infield single from Lutz and throwing error by Clemmer.
Clemmer took over for Hector Hernandez (L, 1-2, 2.48) who started for the Hillcats and took the loss despite striking out seven, walking two and allowed two runs on six hits over four and 1/3 innings pitched. Lynchburg also used reliever Felix Tati in the game. He walked one, struck out two and allowed two runs on two this over an inning and 1/3 for the Hillcats while finishing the game.
After Devin Hairston doubled and Rogers walked to keep the inning going, Aguilar went on to extend the lead with a two-out, two-run double to the corner in right to lift Carolina to a 6-1 lead. Aguilar went 2-for-4 with a bunt single in the first and the eventual game winning two-run double in the eighth. Hairston doubled and scored in the eighth as well and went 1-for-4 in the game.
Carolina's 6-1 lead, however, dissolved quickly in the ninth after the Hillcats rallied for four runs and four hits against reliever Rodrigo Benoit. The four run ninth cut the Carolina lead to 6-5 and first began with a lead off walk from Steven Kwan. Tyler Freeman and Oscar Gonzalez both followed with singles to load the bases and a run scoring groundout from Will Benson and a two-run single from Mitch Reeves would bring across three Lynchburg runs. Benoit stayed in long enough to then allow a double to Jonathan Laureano, but then left with Carolina's lead down to 6-4 and with runners at second and third in the ninth.
Topa (S, 1) took over for Benoit in the ninth and went on to get two groundouts to short to end the game. The first of those two groundouts scored another Lynchburg run, but the second left a runner at third as Topa finished out his first save of the season.
Reliever Anthony Bender also pitched in Monday's game as he worked a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts.
Monday's game was the longest nine-inning game of the season for the Mudcats as it ran three hours and 52 minutes. It was also Carolina's fifth straight win overall and second straight in their series with the Hillcats; thus clinching a series victory for Carolina.
The series will conclude on Tuesday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 12:00 p.m. at Five County Stadium.
The game will air live on the Mudcats Radio Network 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.
Individual game tickets, season ticket plans, group ticket packages and the latest mini plans are all available now by visiting the Five County Stadium front office, by calling (919) 269-CATS (2287) and by visiting carolinamudcats.com/tickets.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.