ZEBULON — After a disappointing first half that left the Carolina Mudcats at the bottom of the division rankings, the local team has turned it around nearing the mid-point of the second half of the season.
Following a comeback win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Tuesday night, the Muddies entered a seven-game road trip in second place in the Carolina League’s southern division, just three games behind the division-leading Myrtle Beach Pelicans.
Late home runs by Tyler Naquin and Paddy Matera helped the Mudcats earn a sweep of the Blue Rocks after the Mudcats had jumped to an early lead only to see the Blue Rocks use two big innings in the middle of the game to take the lead away.
The win pushes Carolina’s second-half record to 16-14. That’s an even more impressive mark considering the Mudcats stumbled out of the gate to open the second half, dropping seven of their first nine games. Since then, the Zebulon squad has gone 14-7.
Tuesday’s game against the Blue Rocks was indicative of what’s changed for the Mudcats in the second half.
Instead of giving up an early lead and failing to climb back into games, the Mudcats have been able to keep their lead or, as was the case Tuesday, find a way to battle back.
And, the Mudcats have been able to make the adjustments without one of their first half All-Stars. Francisco Lindor was promoted to the AA Akron Aeros following the Major League All-Star break.