08/24/06 — Mudcats fall to Tennessee

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Mudcats fall to Tennessee

Published in Sports on August 24, 2006 2:38 PM

ZEBULON -- Jamie D'Antona clubbed a three-run double in the eighth inning to further a six-run inning as Tennessee held off Carolina 6-4 at Five County Stadium on Wednesday night.

With Carolina (25-34) leading 1-0 in the eighth inning, starter Paul Mildren was lifted after a single and sacrifice. Reliever Scott Nestor (1-1) surrendered a game-tying double to Carlos Gonzalez on his first pitch, then walked Phil Avlas. Matt Yourkin relieved Nestor and retired Danny Richar before intentionally walking Alberto Gonzalez to bring up Jesus Cota. Cota singled to left field to break the tie ahead of D'Antona's double up the right-centerfield alley. Jerry Gil concluded the large inning with a triple to left-center as the Smokies (33-26) pushed ahead 6-1.

The fireworks were just beginning, however. In the bottom of the eighth, Jonathan Aceves batted against reliever Matt Elliott, and crushed a pitch down the left field line for an apparent home run. However, home plate umpire Will Robinson signaled the ball foul. After a debate with Mudcats manager Luis Dorante, Robinson queried the rest of the crew, and the call was reversed for a three-run homer to draw the Mudcats to within 6-4.

The bizarre events continued in the last of the ninth when the Mudcats filled the bases against closer Bill White with one out. Aceves was again in the spotlight, grounding a ball to Richar at second base, who flipped to shortstop Gonzalez to force Jose Campusano, but Gonzalez's relay throw to end the game skipped past first baseman D'Antona to score two runs. However, while the Mudcats began to celebrate the tie game, third base umpire Eric Loveless ruled Campusano out of the baseline sliding into second to interfere with Gonzalez's throw, and ruled Aceves out to end the game.

Ross Ohlendorf (9-8) and Mildren each pitched brilliantly. Ohlendorf allowed just one hit over seven innings to earn the win, while Mildren worked 71/3 on three hits and one run.

With the victory, Tennessee remains 1/2 game behind first place Huntsville in the North, while the Mudcats fell 81/2 games behind with 11 to play in the second half.

The homestand concludes tonight with Jose Garcia (5-6, 3.22) starting against Tennessee's Steven Jackson (7-9, 2.78) at 7:15.