BUIES CREEK, N.C. - Ryan Aguilar went 3-for-5 with a RBI triple and Tucker Neuhaus went 2-for-3 with a run scoring triple of his own as the Mudcats clinched their first series sweep of the season with a 9-1 throttling of the Astros at Jim Perry Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Carolina (21-22) offense matched season highs for runs and hits in a road game with nine runs on 14 hits in Sunday's series finale against the Astros (23-19). The series finale victory also clinched Carolina's first sweep of the season and came at the very end of a six game road trip where the Mudcats finished at 3-3.
After a slow start by both teams, the Mudcats went on to score three two-out runs between the second and third innings while taking an early 3-0 lead on starter Brandon Bailey and the Astros. Bailey (0-4, 4.54) took the loss for the Astros after allowing three runs on five hits over the first four innings of Sunday's game. He also reached 89 pitches (48 strikes) over four frames while walking three and striking out three.
Marcos Diplan, meanwhile, started for Carolina and labored his way through the first two innings with 64 pitches (36 strikes) thrown before leaving the game after two. Diplan allowed just one hit, but walked four while working through his shortest start of the season.
Reliever Alec Kenilvort followed Diplan and went on to earn the win after working through three and 1/3 innings with just one run allowed on one hit. Kenilvort (1-2, 5.89) began his outing by retiring 10 straight batters and ended up reaching 46 pitches (29 strikes) before being replaced by Chase Williams (1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB) in the sixth. Daniel Brown (2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO) worked through the final three innings while finishing the game for Carolina.
The first run of the game came in the second when Max McDowell brought in the first of three two-out runs with a RBI double. Aguilar then delivered the other two, two-out runs with a two-run triple in the third as Carolina took a 3-0 lead.
Aguilar's triple was his second of three hits in the game as he went 3-for-5 with a run and two batted in for the Mudcats. He also scored a run during Carolina's three run fifth as the Mudcats opened their lead to 6-0 through the five. The Carolina fifth also featured a run scoring triple from Neuhaus and a RBI hit from Rob Henry.
Neuhaus was 2-for-3 with two runs and was one of five Mudcats batters to total at least two hits in the sweep clinching victory. The others included Keston Hiura who, like Aguilar, went 3-for-5 and Luis Aviles Jr. and Max McDowell who went 2-for-5 and 2-for-4 respectively. Hiura also drove in two runs after bringing in one of Carolina's two eighth inning runs with a run scoring single. He also brought in a run in the ninth with his Carolina League leading 13th double of the season.
Carolina scored all of its runs evenly across the three Buies Creek pitchers faced in the game. Bailey started and allowed three runs over four innings, Kit Scheetz later gave up three runs on five hits over three innings and Colin McKee also allowed three runs on four hits over two innings.
The Mudcats went 5-for-17 with runners in scoring and left 12 men on base in the victory. The Astros, meanwhile, were held without a hit with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base in the loss.
Carolina next plays on Monday night at Five County Stadium as they begin a new eight game home stand with four games versus Down East and four versus Myrtle Beach. Monday's home stand and series opener against the Wood Ducks will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Zebulon. 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 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.