ZEBULON, N.C. - Luke Barker allowed a game tying home run in the ninth and a walk-off single in the eleventh as the Mudcats dropped game one of a de facto doubleheader 7-6 to the Hillcats on Tuesday night at Five County Stadium. Lynchburg's Emmanuel Tapia, meanwhile, hit a three-run home run in the fourth while leading the Hillcats to a 4-3 victory in game two.
The Mudcats (54-59, 20-23) originally led 5-0 when Tuesday's twin-bill opener resumed with two outs in the sixth inning. Carolina scored all five of those runs in the sixth when the game first started in Lynchburg back on July 23. The five run rally came across with help of several Lynchburg (55-57, 26-19) errors and run scoring hits from Devin Hairston, Weston Wilson and Ryan Aguilar. The game was then suspended due to heavy rain and then resumed at Five County Stadium on Tuesday.
Trailing 5-0 after the seventh, the Hillcats chipped into the lead with a run in the eighth and later brought across one more in the ninth while knocking reliever Daniel Brown (3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) out of the game. Barker (4-4, 2.17) then followed and would allow a game tying home run to Mitch Longo as the Hillcats forced extras in the game.
The game was tied 5-5 after nine and both sides would go on to trade runs in the tenth as it continued at 6-6 going into the eleventh. The eleventh inning, however, would follow what ended up being a :25 minute delay as heavy rain during game play in the tenth halted play for a bit.
The rain, however, did help Carolina take a 6-5 lead in the tenth though, as Lynchburg reliever Kyle Nelson issued three straight two-out walks while pitching through the rain to force in Carolina's tying run. Nelson had nearly escaped the tenth unscathed after getting an out on a sac bunt and another out at the plate in the inning. The Hillcats, while also batting through the rain, ended up tying the game at 6-6 in the tenth on a run scoring hit from Anthony Miller off Barker.
With the game tied at 6-6, the Mudcats would go on to be held scoreless in the eleventh by reliever Micah Miniard before seeing Trenton Brooks come through with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the eleventh. The Hillcats played as the home team as the game originally began in Lynchburg on July 23.
Barker allowed three runs (two earned) over two plus innings and suffered the loss. He originally came in the game in search of a save in the ninth, but was not able to hold the late lead. Brown began the ninth with Carolina lead 5-1, but would go on to allow a run scoring two-out hit to Jorma Rodriguez before waking a batter and leaving the game with two on and two down in the ninth. Longo then followed with his game tying home run off Barker to tie the game for the Hillcats. In all, Brown struck out four, walked three and allowed three hits over three and 2/3 innings.
Miniard (3-3, 5.52) earned the victory in Tuesday's resumed game after holding the Mudcats scoreless over an inning and a third. He also walked one and struck out two in the victory.
Braden Webb originally started the game for Carolina and finished with a no-decision after striking out five over five scoreless innings pitched. Tanner Tully started for Lynchburg and allowed five runs (one earned) on four hits over five plus frames. Reliever Jared Robinson took over for Tully back when the game was played in Lynchburg and would then pick up where he left off again on Tuesday. Robinson pithed through four scoreless frames with a walk and five strikeouts.
Game two went to the Hillcats after they rallied back from a 1-0 hole with four runs and three hits in the fourth against starter Alec Bettinger. The four run frame included a bases loaded sacrifice fly from Gavin Collins and then Tapia's three run homer off Bettinger (1-3, 5.34). The home run was his seventh of the season and it lifted Lynchburg to a 4-1 lead.
The Hillcats led 4-1 in the fourth, but Carolina came back with one in the fifth and one in the sixth while cutting the lead down to one. The Hillcats, however, went on to hold the lead behind dominating relief efforts from Luis Jimenez and eventually closer Dalbert Siri.
Jimenez (1-3, 6.31) struck out seven, including six straight between the sixth and seventh innings and earned the win. He also allowed just one hit while pitching through four scoreless frames before handing the game to Siri (S, 9) who then finished it with back-to-back strikeouts.
Zach Plesac originally started the game for Lynchburg and ended up allowing three runs on seven hits over four and 1/3 innings. He allowed a run to score on a wild pitch in the third, allowed a run scoring hit to Rob Henry in the fourth and finally gave up a run scoring double to Demi Orimoloye in the fifth. Plesac also walked two and struck out seven in his outing.
Bettinger (1-3, 5.34) took the loss after allowing four runs on three hits over four full innings pitched. He struck out five as well, but also issued three walks before leaving the game after reaching 82 pitches over four innings.
Relievers Wuilder Rodriguez, Phil Bickford and Alec Kenilvort all followed Bettinger in the game. Rodriguez scattered two hits and struck out two over two scoreless frames, Bickford struck out four over two scoreless as well and Kenilvort worked a scoreless ninth for Carolina.
Carolina's game two loss ran the club's current losing streak to four straight games. It also clinched a two games none series win in the three game series for the Hillcats. The series and home stand will conclude on Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Five County Stadium.
Tickets are available by visiting www.carolinamudcats.com/tickets, by calling (919) 269-CATS (2287) and by visiting the Five County Stadium front office in Zebulon. The game will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, the Big Dawg 98.5 FM and via TuneIn Radio at carolinamudcats.com. It 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.