05/25/07 — Mudcats need 11 innings to win

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Mudcats need 11 innings to win

Published in Sports on May 25, 2007 1:47 PM

ZEBULON -- It took the Carolina Mudcats (18-30) more than nine innings to end their six-game losing streak to the Birmingham Barons (21-27).

The Mudcats needed 11 innings to prevail 2-1 on Thursday night.

The game featured strong starting pitching from both Mudcats starter James Russ and the Barons Gio Gonzalez.

Russ threw 42/3 innings without allowing a hit until a Sean Smith single to right field brought in the only Barons' run on the night.

Russ ended the night going six innings of one-hit, one-run baseball.

His counterpart Gonzalez -- the third best White Sox prospect according to Baseball America -- fell one strikeout shy of his career high. The Miami native fanned 12 Mudcats in six innings and allowed just three hits.

The Mudcats manufactured a run in the bottom of the fifth when a Jai Miller sacrifice fly brought in Ryan Bear, who reached on a walk and advanced to third by a Donny Lucy passed ball.

The game would remain notched at one apiece until the Mudcats 11th inning.

Second baseman Eric Riggs started the one-out rally with his second double in his brief Mudcats career. Riggs went 2-for-5 at the plate raising his average to .250.

Third baseman Lee Mitchell drove Riggs home to end the game with a single to right.

Mudcats reliever Scott Nestor (1-0) pitched three solid innings to pick up the victory. Barons pitcher Tim Bittner (0-1) took the loss.

The Mudcats try to even their series tonight as Rick Vanden Hurk faces off against Jack Egbert at 7:15 p.m. at Five County Stadium.