Carolina takes down Salem, 4-2
Jordan Cooper tossed seven scoreless innings, Giovanny Urshela belted two solo homers, and Justin Toole played all nine positions in Carolina’s 4-2 victory over Salem on Saturday night at Five County Stadium.
Toole recorded three assists and three putouts defensively in the first eight innings before climbing the mound for the ninth. He entered with a 4-0 lead and surrendered back-to-back home runs with one out, but struck out a pair to finish the game. Drew Hedman and Sean Coyle both launched solo bombs in the ninth, but the Red Sox went hitless with runners in scoring position and fell short despite outhitting the Mudcats 8-5.
Carolina opened the scoring in the last of the second, with Delvi Cid smashing a two-run double to the base of the center field fence off Miguel Celestino. One inning later, Urshela laced a line drive homer over the right field wall to give the Mudcats a 3-0 lead. Celestino retired the final seven batters he faced, but fell to 7-9 on the season, permitting three runs on three hits and three walks in five innings.
The main story through the middle innings was the defensive shifts for Carolina, with Toole taking a different position on the field in every inning. He started in right, moving to center in the second and left in the third. From there, he went to first base, second base, shortstop, and third base. In the top of the eighth, Robert Nixon entered on the mound and Toole became the catcher; the duo combined for a perfect frame with two strikeouts. And in the ninth, Toole took over the pitching duties, making his second career professional pitching appearance. He popped up Brandon Jacobs before surrendering back-to-back blasts to Hedman and Coyle. With the score 4-2, Toole struck out David Renfroe and David Chester to end the game, igniting a celebration with all the Mudcats racing to the mound to congratulate Toole.
While the super utility man received the attention, it was Cooper who earned the win with his brilliant seven-inning outing, permitting just six hits. He struck out six and didn’t walk anybody, improving to 8-7 on the year. Urshela was also worthy of kudos, belting his second homer of the night in the eighth inning to give the Mudcats a 4-0 lead. The extra insurance run did prevent Toole from earning the save since it created a four-run difference.