WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (April 12, 2018) - With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the tenth inning, the Dash had a chance for magic to cap off the team's home opener. Joel Booker provided just that, stealing home to give Winston-Salem a 3-2, walk-off win over the Carolina Mudcats on Thursday night in front of 5,977 fans at BB&T Ballpark.
Booker entered the game as a pinch-runner in the tenth inning, starting the game at second base per Minor League Baseball's newly-instituted pace-of-play rules. After Mudcats left-hander Daniel Brown (0-2) got two outs to start the frame, Yeyson Yrizarri bounced an infield single to put runners on the corners.
Following a walk to Ti'Quan Forbes, Carolina pitching coach Bob Milacki went out to the mound and called the infield together. Moments later, the Mudcats (5-3) attempted to end the frame with the "hidden ball" trick, but Yrizarri evaded Tucker Neuhaus' tag at second. On the very next pitch, Booker took off for home plate, sliding in safely before catcher Max McDonnell could apply the tag.
Right-hander Mike Morrison (2-0) thwarted the Mudcats' scoring attempt in the top half of the inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Clint Coulter hit a line drive to shortstop where Yrizarri snared it and doubled off Dallas Carroll at third to set up Booker's heroics.
The Dash (5-3) came close to ending the game in the ninth, bringing the winning run to third with two outs. But, Gavin Sheets grounded out to end the frame to send the game into extra innings.
The game began with Dash left-hander Bernardo Flores and Mudcats right-hander Trey Supak trading zeros through the first two frames. In the third, Sheets helped the Winston-Salem offense break through. Playing in his first game at BB&T Ballpark after playing for three years at Wake Forest University, he came through with a two-out single to bring home Alex Call as the game's first run.
Winston-Salem clung to its one-run lead until the sixth, when Flores allowed a two-run home run to right off the bat of Ronnie Gideon. Flores did not receive a decision, striking out five and walking two in his six innings of work.
Right-hander Danny Dopico kept the Mudcats at bay with two scoreless frames, tallying three strikeouts in the process.
The Dash tied the game in the eighth with a pair of two-out hits. After Yrizarri legged out an infield single, Forbes drilled a 1-0 pitch from right-hander Conor Harber into the right-center field gap to drive in Yrizarri. Morrison entered the game spun a scoreless ninth frame, setting up the chance for walk-off excitement in the tenth.
The victory gives the Dash a four-game winning streak, the team's longest of the season.
Winston-Salem continues its series with the Mudcats on Friday at 7:00 at BB&T Ballpark. The Dash send right-hander Dylan Cease (0-1, 3.86 ERA) to the mound against Mudcats' left-hander Nathan Kirby (0-0, 3.86 ERA). Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 p.m., and fans can catch all of the action on wsdash.com/broadcast, MiLB.tv and the TuneIn Radio App.
The Dash continue their opening homestand on Friday with the second game of their four-game series against the Carolina Mudcats. Friday's contest includes a postgame fireworks show, presented by PTI Fly Easy. The rest of the homestand includes a Chick-fil-A Four Pack Night on Saturday, a Lowes Foods Family Sunday and much more. For tickets and more information, call the Dash at (336) 714-2287 or visit wsdash.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.