Fresh off of an off day, the Mudcats looked to make it five in a row with two victories against the Carroll Merchants. Unfortunately, the Merchants are riding off of a walk-off victory against St. Joseph on Wednesday night. Momentum is always key and it seemed to be the deciding factor in the doubleheader. Carroll didn’t get the offense going until the sixth inning of game one. Once they did, they didn’t turn back the rest of the night.
To his credit, RHP Karter Muck was dominant in game one. Muck threw six innings of one-run ball while striking out seven. The Mudcats’ offense provided two runs through six innings, making it a 2-1 game heading into the bottom of the seventh. RHP Jett Ah Sam would come on to get the save and be met by the top of the order. A couple defensive miscues and free passes, and the merchants tied it up at 2-2. After loading the bases with two outs, Sam would let a pitch run too far inside, hitting the batter and drawing in the winning run at 3-2.
In game two, RHP Jaydon Cabezudo would get the start. The Merchants’ offense would start scoring in the first with two runs. They continued with three more in the second, creating an early 5-0 hole for Chillicothe. This would be an uncharacteristic start for Cabezudo, who’s been impressive in his past few outings. He would only last 2.1 IP, before RHP Koby Linder would take over. Linder came into the game with an ERA of 1.09. Much like Cabezudo, Linder would struggle to continue his excellence, as he was tagged for four runs over his relief appearance. The Mudcats would eventually get on the board in the sixth, but it would be too little too late, as they fell 9-3.
In a matter of two games, the talks of magic numbers for a postseason spot seem to be put on hold, as it’s looking like a race for third place to the very end. Carroll now finds themselves half a game back of Chillicothe. The Mudcats don’t have a fairly easy last week of the season either.
They have three games left against St. Joseph, who currently sit in first place in the North. They also have three games against Des Moines, who sit in fifth place in the division, possibly looking to play spoiler. They’ll host Nevada for two games on Sunday night, which could be a good spot for Chillicothe to gain some ground. Nevada has a 2-0 record for against the Mudcats this season. The final game of the season will be against the current second place Clarinda A’s, who have a winning record against the Mudcats this season. Moral of the story is this: the Mudcats need to treat their last nine regular season games like their backs are against the wall. Honestly, that is when this team can excel the best.