(ZEBULON, North Carolina) - Patrick Ryan and Omar Aguilar blew save opportunities in the 6th and 8th innings as the Carolina Mudcats rallied to frustrate the Huntsville Stars, 9-8, Tuesday night at Five County Stadium.
Manuel Mayorson capped a 4-for-5 night with a single, coupled with a throwing error, that scored all three runs in the Mudcats' come-from-behind 8th for the final 9-8 lead they would never relinquish.
The Stars are are 4-13 in one-run games since May 1 and 3-4 and tied with Chattanooga and West Tennessee for 3rd place in the Northern Division.
Josh Johnson made the start for Carolina on a rehab assignment by the Florida Marlins, going 5 1/3 innings, giving up 4 runs, 2 earned, on 6 hits. Huntsville starter Derek Miller pitched just 3 scoreless innings, giving up 3 hits, before he was relieved by Joe Bateman.
The Stars, down by a run 6-5, rallied for 3 runs in the top of the 8th to take an 8-6 lead.
Michael Brantley delivered with a 2-out single to drive in pinch-runner Guilder Rodriguez to start the scoring. Rodriguez had come into the ballgame as a runner for Chris Errecart, who lined a one-out single to left. Brantley took second on the throw to the plate in the attempt on Rodriguez, and scored to give the Stars the lead when Alcides Escobar singled to right. Escobar took second on the throw, and scored, himself, when Mat Gamel singled to right.
Aguilar replaced Dave Johnson on the mound for the Stars when Carolina started the 8th inning. John Raynor and Cameron Maybin greeted Aguilar with back-to-back singles, but got recently named Southern League player-of-the-week Chirs Coghlan out on strikes and Gaby Sanchez on a foul out.
But then Alberto Concepcion reached on a diving stop of a ground ball up the middle by 2nd baseman Mike Bell to load the bases. That set the stage for Mayorson's bases-clearing single, scoring Raynor and Maybin. Concepcion scored when center fielder Michael Brantley threw the ball towards the Carolina dugout.
Chris Mobley picked up his 11th save by striking out the side in the 9th.
The Stars will send 8-game winner David Welch to the mound, Wednesday night against Rick Vanden Hurk (2-1), game time starting at 6:05 CT.
Carolina has won 5 of 6 meetings with the Stars this year with 4 of the 5 wins decided by either one or two runs.