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WILMINGTON, Del. — Despite the hot bat of Ryan Aguilar, the Carolina Mudcats came up on the short end of a pair of Advanced-A Carolina League outcomes over the weekend against the host Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Aguilar homered in each game and extended his hitting streak to 11 games but the Mudcats lost 8-7 on Saturday night after blowing a late lead and fell 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Frawley Stadium. The losses dropped Carolina to 13-12 in the Carolina League second half and 52-42 while the Blue Rocks climbed to 12-12 and 56-37.
Aguilar smacked a solo home run in the top of the first inning, his eighth of the season, Wilmington’s Kyle Isbel erased that lead with a three-run homer in the bottom of the third. That was just one of four hits allowed by Carolina starting pitcher Noah Zavolas (5-4) in his seven innings of work. He walked none and struck out six.
Daniel Tillo notched the win for Wilmington, pitching six innings in a starting role and giving up just three hits. Tad Ratliff pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his 18th save.
Carolina got its other run in the eighth when center fielder Tristen Lutz doubled, took third on a wild pitch and came home on Payton Henry’s groundout.
In Saturday’s game, the Mudcats erupted for six runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 7-2 lead. However, the Blue Rocks retaliated with five runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the score before Dennicher Carrasco’s ninth-inning single scored Brewer Hicklen with the game-winning run.
Carolina trailed 2-0 before Aguilar’s solo homer in the sixth halved the margin. The Mudcats’ six-run seventh featured a two-run single by Henry and an RBI single by Wes Rogers.
Wilmington’s eighth-inning rally started against reliever Cody Beckman and continued against closer Rodrigo Benoit, who has struggled of late and earned his third blown save.
Justin Topa started the bottom of the ninth for Carolina and took the loss, his third without a win, after giving up singles to Hicklen and Carrasco.
Tad Ratliff (2-2) notched the victory by pitching a perfect top of the ninth inning.
Henry and Rogers each had two of Carolina’s eight hits. The Mudcats stranded 19 runners on base while Wilmington left 18 on.
Christian Taugner takes the mound for the Mudcats in Monday’s series finale, which is also Carolina’s last road game before starting a six-game homestand Wednesday.