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Extra-inning slam lifts Mudcats over Shorebirds

Posted on September 6, 2021

Sports
Darrien Miller awaits a pitch during the Carolina Mudcats’ series-ending game against the Delmarva Shorebirds on Sunday. Carolina won 8-4.

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Darrien Miller awaits a pitch during the Carolina Mudcats’ series-ending game against the Delmarva Shorebirds on Sunday. Carolina won 8-4.

ZEBULON — Darrien Miller hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th to lead the Mudcats to an 8-4 series finale victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds on Sunday afternoon at Five-County Stadium.

The grand slam was Miller’s second of the series and Carolina’s 10th of the season. It was also Miller’s fourth home run in his last three games.

Miller batted just twice in the game for the Mudcats (63-45) as he originally came in as a pinch-hitter for Tyler Black in the eighth. Black left the game after being struck in the hand by a pitch in the seventh.

Miller ended up walking his first time up, but then delivered the game winning home run to break a 4-4 tie in the 10th while leading Carolina to its second victory in the six-game series.

Thomas Girard took the loss for the Shorebirds (61-47) after allowing Miller’s grand slam and walking a batter in the 10th. Girard (2-2, 5.20) also struck out one and saw a runner reach on an error in the tenth, thus making all four of his runs allowed unearned.

James Meeker (1-0, 0.00) earned the win for Carolina after holding the Shorebirds scoreless over 2⅓ innings pitched. The victory was Meeker’s first since joining the Mudcats and his first in affiliated professional baseball. Meeker worked the end of the eighth and through the tenth while following Miguel Guerrero who had pitched through 1⅔ innings without allowing a run.

Carolina was down late in the game as the Mudcats trailed 4-2 in the seventh before getting one across against reliever Justin Armbruester to cut the deficit to one. They then tied the game with a run in the eighth against reliever Leonardo Rodriguez. The eighth inning run came across on a balk and the game-tying run scored on a groundout from Noah Campbell.

The Mudcats did originally lead in the game after scoring first on a RBI double from Alex Binelas in the third. Binelas went 3-for-5 in the game with his double, putting Carolina up 1-0 in the third. The Shorebirds came back with game-tying sac fly in the fourth, but Carolina answered with another run in the fourth when Ethan Murray reached and scored on an error.

Carolina’s 2-1 lead disappeared in the fifth, though, when Logan Michaels brought in John Rhodes with an RBI single. The Shorebirds then later took their 4-2 lead on a two-run single from Rhodes in the sixth.

Brailin Rodriguez started for Carolina and worked through three before leaving with the bases loaded in the fourth. Brendan Murphy followed and managed to escape the inning with just one inherited runner allowed in. Rodriguez ended up allowing just the one run on three hits over three-plus innings. He also walked three and struck out two in his Carolina debut. Murphy pitched through two innings with a walk, three strikeouts, three hits and one run allowed in relief.

Despite the victory, Carolina remained one game back from the Kinston-based Down East Wood Ducks in the Central Division standings. Carolina’s final homestand of the season begins on Tuesday and will include six games versus Down East.

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