ZEBULON, NC - Matt Smith matched a career high with eight strikeouts while pitching through the fifth, but the Carolina offense was held to just four hits and did not score a run as the Red Sox blanked the Mudcats 3-0 in front of a crowd of 6,213 on Saturday night at Five County Stadium.
The Red Sox (27-21, 52-63) totaled one run versus Smith (L, 4-10, 3.59) in the fourth and later scored twice versus reliever Chad Whitmer in the sixth and eighth innings while taking the middle game of the series and snapping Carolina's three-game win streak.
Pedro Castellanos led the way offensively for Salem as his home run (7) in the fourth off Smith gave his club the early 1-0 lead. Castellanos also brought across a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly and ended up going 1-for-3 with two RBI, a run and a home run in the game. Nick Lovullo also drove in a run for the Red Sox and went 1-for-3 with a RBI double in the eighth.
Starter Thaddeus Ward and relievers Logan Browning and Joan Martinez combined on Salem's four-hit shutout over the Mudcats (21-28, 60-58) with Ward (W, 2-2, 2.28) earning the win after tossing five plus scoreless frames with one hit allowed. Ward also totaled eight strikeouts and walked four, including two in the sixth before being removed from the game. Browning (H, 1) inherited two from Ward and went on to allow a hit to load the bases before pitching a scoreless sixth. He then returned for a quiet seventh before giving way to Martinez who went on to work around a hit and a walk while pitching through a two-inning save.
The Mudcats left three men on base in the sixth, one in the seventh, two in the eight and one in the ninth while stranding 10 total in the loss. Zach Clark totaled two of Carolina's four hits, including a two-out double in the ninth while going 2-for-4.
Smith took the loss despite allowing just the one run on three hits over five full innings pitched in his start. He also totaled eight strikeouts while reaching 61 pitches (44 strikes). Whitmer followed in relief and allowed two runs on four hits over two plus frames in what was his High-A debut. Hitt later finished the game while totaling five strikeouts over two scoreless.
The loss came in front of Carolina's largest home crowd of the season with 6,213 in attendance at Five County Stadium. The loss also leveled the series at 1-1 with Sunday's rubber game scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in Zebulon.
The game will air live 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 in full high-definition video on MiLB.tv via Minor League Baseball's subscription service.
# # #
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.