ZEBULON, N.C. - Lucas Erceg had a two-run double in the third, Max McDowell and Wendell Rijo hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth and Nate Griep earned his franchise record tying 28th save of the season as the Mudcats defeated the Dash 5-3 on Wednesday night at Five County Stadium.
With the victory, the Mudcats (68-65, 32-33) improved to 12-0 this season versus the Dash (53-82, 29-36) at Five County Stadium and took an 18-5 lead in the overall series between the two teams. Carolina also went up 2-0 in the current three game series and earned their fifth straight series victory. The Mudcats also staved off post-season elimination as the win, combined with a Buies Creek loss, kept their elimination number at one with five games remaining.
Cooper Hummel scored the first run of the game after starting the second inning with a single and later scoring on a sacrifice fly from Weston Wilson. Hummel went 2-for-4 in the game and his run in the second gave the Mudcats a 1-0 lead.
Erceg later gave the Mudcats a 3-0 lead the very next inning as he blasted a two-run double to deep right-center in the third. The double brought in both Trent Clark and Monte Harrison and brought Erceg's Carolina League leading RBI total to 81 on the year. Clark went 1-for-4 in the game with a run and a walk. His walk in the sixth was his Carolina League leading 97th of the year and brought him into a tie with Tracy Sanders of the 1998 Mudcats for the most walks in franchise history.
The Dash, however, came back with two runs of their own off Carolina starter Kodi Medeiros to cut the lead down to 3-2, but McDowell and Rijo later hit back-to-back home runs off Dash starter Jimmy Lambert while giving the Mudcats a 5-2 lead in the fourth.
McDowell went 1-for-4 in the game with what was his third home run of the season. Rijo, meanwhile, finished the game going 2-for-4 with a double and his second home run with Carolina this year. Rijo's homer knocked Lambert (4-4, 6.00) out of the game and forced the Dash to go to their bullpen in the fourth.
Lambert allowed five runs on seven hits over three and 1/3 innings and took the loss in Wednesday's game. He also finished with a walk and four strikeouts. Ryan Riga followed Lambert and eventually closed the frame without allowing a run. He went on to work through and inning and 2/3 scoreless, while relievers Zach Thompson and Ian Hamilton combined on the final three frames and held Carolina without another run.
Medeiros (7-9, 5.22) earned the victory after working through the fifth with four strikeouts, eight hits allowed and three walks. He left the game in the sixth after loading the bases with one out and ended up finishing with three runs allowed in the victory.
Reliever Parker Berberet took over for Medeiros in the sixth and ended up allowing one inherited runner to score after walking in a run following Medeiros. Berberet (H, 1) also pitched a scoreless seventh and ended up with four strikeouts over an inning and 2/3. Eric Hanhold (H, 4) pitched a scoreless eighth and Griep (S, 28) finished the game by striking out the side in the ninth. Griep's save tied him with Chris Mobley of the 2008 Mudcats for the most saves in franchise history.
Matt Rose led the way offensively for the Dash in the 5-3 loss. Rose hit a solo home run in the fourth off Medeiros and was 2-for-5 in the game. Daniel Gonzalez also had two hits and Sam Dexter and Jameson Fisher both had a hit and a RBI for Winston-Salem.
UP NEXT: The series will conclude on Thursday night at Five County Stadium with Zack Brown getting the start for the Mudcats. The Mudcats will look for the fifth sweep and a perfect home record versus the Dash this season with a victory on Thursday night. The game will air 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 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.