08/22/06 — Mudcats win again

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Mudcats win again

Published in Sports on August 22, 2006 2:27 PM

ZEBULON -- Rex Rundgren hit a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth to put away first-place Tennessee for the second straight night as Carolina defeated the Smokies 5-2 on Monday night at Five County Stadium.

Leading 3-2, Carolina (24-33) filled the bases with two outs before Rundgren dropped a single into short right-centerfield, sending Manu Olivera (4-8) to his first win since June 5.

After being swept five successive nights in Huntsville by the second-place Stars, the Mudcats have rattled off two wins against the Smokies, who are trying to fend off Huntsville for the second half title. Huntsville remained a half-game behind the Smokies by losing in West Tenn for the second consecutive night. First-half champion Chattanooga lost as well, remaining 2 1/2 behind, while West Tenn closed to within three games with 13 to play. Carolina is still mathmatically alive, eight games back.

Olivera sailed through seven innings on just 67 pitches. Olivera struck out four, while working to only one three-ball count during his entire start.

Carolina held 1-0 and 2-1 leads before Tennessee pulled even, but the Mudcats went ahead for good on a groundout by Kevin Randel in the fifth against A.J. Shappi (0-2), who absorbed his second Double-A loss in three starts.

Matt Yourkin pitched around a leadoff walk in the eighth before handing the ball over to Christopher Young, who registered his career-best 10th save.

During this recent polarized stretch, Carolina has won 10 of its last 12 home games, while dropping 20 of its last 23 on the road.

Daniel Barone starts the middle game of the series on tonight against Tennessee's Clint Goocher at 7:15.