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ZEBULON — After a modest three-game winning streak, the Carolina Mudcats’ offense deserted them again in back-to-back Advanced-A Carolina League losses to the Salem Red Sox over the weekend.
The Mudcats were blanked 3-0 on Saturday at Five County Stadium before dropping Sunday’s series finale 4-1. Carolina, now 60-59 overall and 21-29 in the second half, managed just nine hits in the two games. The Mudcats’ only run came on Julio Garcia’s two-out single to score Rob Henry.
Adding insult to injury for the Mudcats was the ejections of both catcher Mario Felciano and manager Joe Ayrault in the top of the seventh inning. Henry took over behind the plate for the first time in his career in an emergency role.
The Red Sox (53-63, 28-21) scored three runs in the first two innings off Mudcats starting pitcher Nelson Hernandez (10-9), including a two-run double by Pedro Castellanos in the second. He finished 3 for 3 with three RBIs.
Salem starter Daniel Gonzalez went six innings to pick up the win, improving to 5-8. It was the second straight strong starting performance for the Red Sox. Thaddeus Ward (2-2) allowed one hit in five innings while relievers Logan Browning and Joan Martinez each worked a pair of scoreless innings in Saturday’s game.
Carolina starter Matt Smith (4-10) gave up one run, earned, on three hits while walking none and striking out eight, tying a career high, in five innings.
Castellanos clubbed a solo home run in the fourth to put the Red Sox on the scoreboard. They added single runs in the sixth and eighth innings.
The 6,213 spectators in attendance were the most for any game at Five County this season. The homestand continues Tuesday after a day off Monday with the start of a three-game series against the Winston-Salem Dash. The Mudcats have just 10 more home games this season.