ZEBULON, N.C. - Myles Straw was 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs, Ryne Birk was 2-for-5 with a two-run triple and right-hander Franklin Perez struck out seven over five scoreless frames as the Buies Creek Astros defeated the Mudcats 14-1 on Thursday night at Five County Stadium.
Cody Ponce started for the Mudcats (6-7) and lasted only two and 2/3 innings while allowing four earned runs (seven total) on a season high six hits allowed. Ponce (2-1, 3.24) also walked two, struck out two and left in the third having thrown nearly 70 pitches over the first three frames.
Reliever Colton Cross took over for Ponce in the third, but inherited a bases loaded jam and eventually allowed all three runners to score. Cross pitched through a total of an inning and 2/3 in Thursday's loss and allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits.
Perez (2-0, 0.00) struck out seven and scattered two hits while improving to 2-0 on the season for the Astros (11-4). He left after the fifth and Matt Bower finished the game with four solid innings out of the bullpen (S, 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO) while earning his first save of the season.
The Astros first scored a run in the second and then added seven more during a long third inning against Ponce and Cross. The seven-run Buies Creek third inning broke the game wide open and gave Perez an 8-0 lead to work with. The high scoring frame also included a two-run triple from Birk, a run scoring single to left by Osvaldo Duarte and a two-run double with two outs by Straw.
Each of the starting nine in the Buies Creek lineup had at least one hit in Thursday's game. Straw led the way for the Astros with three hits, while Kyle Tucker, Birk, Pat Porter and Duarte each totaled two hits apiece.
Buies Creek led 8-0 after the third, but then went on to add runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth before eventually going quiet late in the game against Quintin Torres-Costa (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO) and Nate Griep (1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO).
Wuilder Rodriguez also appeared out of the pen for the Mudcats and pitched in his first game of the season. He followed Cross and ended up walking a batter with the bases loaded during the Buies Creek four run fifth. Cross also walked a man with the bags full in the fourth and left the game immediately after doing so.
The Mudcats allowed 14 runs (10 earned) on 15 hits in Thursday's loss. They also walked six and struck out nine. Meanwhile, the Carolina offense struck out 12 times and walked only once against Perez and Bower.
Carolina's only run of the game came in the seventh when Max McDowell scored Lucas Erceg with a sacrifice fly to center. McDowell was 1-for-2 with a RBI in the loss. Troy Stokes Jr. was 2-for-4 an Erceg was 1-for-4.
The Mudcats and Astros will continue their four game series on Friday Night, April 21 at Five County Stadium. Friday's game will begin at 7:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. gates) and will feature a Game Show Night theme and post-game fireworks presented by Sears Home Services, the appliance repair experts. The weekend home stand will then continue on Saturday, April 22 with First Responders Night at 5:00 p.m. (4:00 p.m. gates). Friday's game will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio beginning at 6:45 p.m. with the Mudcats pregame show.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.