Aguilar, Mudcats pound the Nationals 11-1
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (7-4) beat up on the Potomac Nationals (6-5) on Monday as they took the second game of the series 11-1.
Led by first baseman Jesus Aguilar and third baseman Giovany Urshela the Mudcat offense was almost unstoppable scoring at least one run in all but one inning. Both hitters were a triple away from a cycle. Aguilar went 4-for-5 with two home runs and drove in six while Urshela added in three hits of his own with a homer and two RBI.
With the backing of such a strong offensive output the Mudcat pitching staff attacked the hitters and kept the Nationals from ever getting anything going at the plate. Danny Salazar got the start for the Mudcats and turned in an impressive outing going four scoreless innings, while surrendering two hits and striking out three.
“Salazar was impressive. His secondary pitches were working, both his breaking ball and changeup. I think he is going to be ready to go five next time out,” said manager Edwin Rodriguez.
Salazar’s outing did start off a little shaky as the first man he faced, first baseman Francisco Soriano, smacked a double into the gap in right center. Salazar was able to bounce back as he struck out back to back hitters before getting a groundout to end the inning stranding Soriano at second. From there he breezed through the remaining innings of his outing before he reached his pitch count.
After retiring center fielder Tyler Holt to lead off his outing, National starter Trevor Holder allowed four straight one out hits leading to a two run inning for the Mudcats. Designated hitter Tony Wolters and third baseman Giovanny Urshela both smacked singles to start the rally. Then on a 3-2 count with the runners moving first baseman Jesus Aguilar smacked a single to left easily scoring Wolters from second and Urshela made it to third. Urshela then came in on a single up the middle by left fielder Bo Greenwell to finish the first inning scoring and give the Mudcats a 2-0 lead.
It looked like Holder would bounce back with a quick inning in the second as he retired the first two he faced but the Mudcats put together a two out rally capped off by a two run shot by Aguilar to extend the lead to 5-0. Back to back two out doubles by Wolters and then Urshela pushed across the Mudcats third run of the game. Aguilar then stepped up and hooked a ball just fair around the left field foul pole, giving Salazar a nice cushion to work with.
“The offense since the second half of the season has been clicking for the guys. They are looking better at the plate and taking better at bats. Those first two innings tonight really set the tone for the game,” said Rodriguez.
The Mudcat offense continued to extend their lead in the third. Anthony Gallas led off the inning with a double to left center and then moved to third on a groundout to first by Jake Lowery. Justin Toole then smacked a single back up the middle to push Gallas across for the Mudcats sixth run of the game.
Holder continued to be beaten up by the Mudcat offense as Urshela led off the fourth with a long homer to left to put the Mudcats up a touchdown 7-0.
The Mudcats bats were finally held in check in the fifth as Holder was able to pitch his first scoreless inning of the game as he retired the Mudcats in order.
The Nationals finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning off of reliever Jordan Cooper. In his second inning of relief after coming in for Salazar in the fifth, Cooper gave up a one out triple off the left center wall to second baseman Rick Hague. Hague scored on a single to center by catcher David Freitas.
The bottom of the sixth inning saw the end of the night for Holder but reliever Ryan Demmin also found it hard to keep the Mudcats offense off the board. Holt led off the inning with a bloop single to center and then after a strikeout by Wolters and a fly out to center by Urshela, Aguilar came up and drove his second two run shot of the game over the right field wall to push the Mudcats lead to 9-1.
Shortstop Ronny Rodriguez got into the act in the seventh as he hit a solo shot to left to lead off the inning to push the lead to 10-1.
The Mudcats pushed the lead to ten in the eighth as Aguilar doubled down the left field line with two outs scoring Holt, who had reached on an error to lead off the inning.
The Mudcats look to complete the three game sweep against the Nationals on Tuesday night at 7:15 at Five County Stadium.