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SALEM, Va. — A three-run homer by Salem’s Triston Casas in the sixth inning served as the catalyst to send the Carolina Mudcats to their fifth straight loss to close the 2019 season Monday afternoon with a 3-1 setback at Haley Toyota Field.
Carolina, which ends the season at 65-74 overall and 26-44 in the second half, picked up a quality start from Scotty Sunitsch, but the bullpen could not finish.
Sunitsch struck out six and allowed four hits over five innings before giving way to Matt Hardy, who yielded the two-out homer in the seventh.
Leugim Castillo was 2 for 4 and drove in a run with an RBI double in the seventh to account for the final margin. Carolina brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the top of the ninth, but Rio Gomez stranded two Mudcats to end it and pick up his second save.
Salem will extend its season after winning the Carolina League’s second-half Northern Division title, compiling a record of 67-70 overall and 42-28 in the second half, claiming the division by two games over Potomac.
Carolina’s 26-44 second-half mark was the Southern Division’s worst by 8 1/2 games.
Salem, which outhit Carolina by an 8-6 margin, picked up 2-for-3 outings from Elih Marrero and Tanner Nishioka.