ZEBULON, N.C. - Pat McInerney hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the fourth and went 2-for-3 with three RBI, but the Keys went on to score three unanswered runs, including the game winner in the tenth while defeating the Mudcats 5-4 in ten innings on Wednesday night at Nymeo Field in Frederick.
The series opening loss snapped a season high six game win streak for the Mudcats (12-9, 51-39) and was Carolina's first when playing in extra innings this season.
The Keys (6-15, 35-55) led first in the game after scoring twice on three hits in the second against rehabbing Major Leaguer Gio Gonzalez. Ryan Ripken started the two run frame with a single and later scored on a run scoring ground out rolled into by Patrick Dorrian. A two-out RBI hit from Jean Carrillo later in the second then brought across Trevor Craport as Frederick jumped out to the early 2-0 lead.
Gonzalez pitched through second for the Mudcats and finished with two runs allowed on four hits. He also closed out the first and second innings with strikeouts, while totaling two strikeouts overall in his rehab assignment start. Gonzalez finished his outing with 48 pitches thrown, 33 of which were strikes.
Frederick starter David Lebron held that early 2-0 Frederick lead through the third, but saw it disappear in the fourth after allowing four runs and three hits. Tristen Lutz started the fourth with a triple and went on to score moments later on a sac fly from Mario Feliciano. McInerney then capped the fourth with a three-run home run to left while lifting Carolina to a 4-2 lead nearly midway through in the game. The home run was McInerney's seventh of the season and his second three-run homer in as many games.
Carolina's 4-2 lead held through fifth but was cut to 4-3 in the sixth after pitcher Christian Taugner allowed three straight Frederick and a run in the frame. Taugner originally entered the game in place of Gonzalez and had worked through three scoreless frames before allowing the sixth inning run. He started that frame by allowing three straight hits, with the third being a RBI single to Sean Miller.
Taugner also allowed three straight hits in the previous frame, but escaped that frame with the bases left loaded. In all, Taugner allowed just the one run on seven hits over three and 2/3 innings. He also struck out two and reached 60 pitches (44) strikes before leaving the game in the seventh.
Reliever Cody Beckman took over for Taugner in the sixth and stranded three inherited runners while escaping a bases loaded jam and finishing out the sixth. Beckman remained in the game through the seventh and into the eighth before leaving with two runners on base. Benoit inherited those two runners and ended up allowing one to score on a sacrifice fly from J.C. Escarra. That run ended up tying the game at 4-4. Benoit ended up finishing the game and was on the mound when the Keys made their final push to get across the game winner. That final run came in the tenth on a game winning hit from Carrillo.
Benoit (L, 6-1, 3.16) struck out two and allowed just the one unearned run on two hits in the loss. Beckman, meanwhile, allowed a run and two hits over an inning and 2/3. He also reached 32 pitches (19 strikes).
Relievers Zach Matson and Diogenes Almengo combined to hold scoreless over the final four innings of the game. Matson totaled four strikeouts while facing the minimum over two innings pitched. Alemengo (W, 5-3, 4.54) totaled two strikeouts, walked one and faced only six in the game.
Carolina's next game will be played in Frederick on Thursday night with the first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Thursday's game will be the second of six straight on the road for Carolina with three in Frederick and three in Wilmington.
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.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.