Carolina crushes Potomac 12-2
Carolina exploded for 12 runs on Sunday, which is the highest offensive output of the season for the Mudcats.
POTOMAC, MD - The Carolina Mudcats broke out of an offensive slump to crush the Potomac Nationals 12-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Despite not expecting the start, Brown made the most of the opportunity, and pitched a solid five innings, giving up only two runs on two hits.
Neither team was able to get anything going in the opening inning, but Carolina broke through in the second inning thanks to command issues by Nationals starting pitcher Nick Lee (0-2, 20.25).
Third baseman James Roberts grounded into a fielder’s choice as Boss was out at second base, but Gallas and Roberts were both safe. A wild pitch allowed Roberts to advance to second base and first baseman Charlie Valerio drew a walk to load the bases with just one out.
After left fielder Todd Hankins struck out for the second out in the inning, back-to-back walks by center fielder Logan Vick and shortstop Erik Gonzalez gave Carolina a two-run lead, and that was it for Lee.
After the pitching change, catcher Jeremy Lucas made the Nationals pay by crushing a grand slam, the first for the Mudcats since Tyler Naquin did so in 2013, over the left field wall to give the Mudcats a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the second inning.
Carolina added two more runs in the third. Boss was walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Roberts followed by smacking a ball into center field to drive in Boss. With one out, Hankins hit a RBI double to center field to drive in Roberts, and stretched the Mudcats lead to eight.
Potomac collected their first hit on the afternoon in the third inning on a double to center, but the runner was stranded to keep the Nationals off the board.
The Mudcats kept pouring it on in the fourth inning. Gallas hit an opposite field solo home run to give Carolina a 9-0 lead.
Potomac broke up the shut out in the fifth inning, on a two-run home run to bring the difference to seven.
After a scoreless fifth inning by the Mudcats, Carolina added to their lead in the sixth. With one out in the inning, Gonzalez singled to center field, and scored all the way from first on a RBI double by designated hitter Alex Monsalve with two out to give Carolina an eight run lead.
Right-hander Rob Nixon took over for Brown in the sixth inning, and pitched very well. Nixon retired all nine batters he faced over three innings to shut the door on the Nationals.
Back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, and a walk loaded the bases for the Mudcats with one out. A wild pitch allowed Monsalve to score from third and a RBI groundout by Valerio allowed Gallas to score to give Carolina a ten run lead that would prove to be the final margin.
Big, left-hander Elvis Araujo pitched a perfect ninth to close out the win for the Mudcats.
Carolina looks to earn a split of the series against the Nationals on Monday night. The Mudcats will send left-hander Shawn Morimando (1-0, 1.64) to the mound.
Zachary is a senior at NC State where he is majoring in communication-media, with minors in journalism and theatre. You can follow him on Twitter @RealZachFrancis.