Mudcats Beat up Nationals for the second straight night
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (17-16) clicked on all cylinders on Saturday Night, as the downed the Potomac Nationals (13-18) 9-1 in the second game of a three game series.
The Mudcat pitching staff again threw a great game, led by Mudcats’ starter Kyle Blair who would turn in a gem as he pitched five innings, giving only one run on one hit while striking out five. The bullpen would come in and pitch four scoreless innings led by Trey Haley’s two and one-third innings.
The first hit and only run of the game for the Nationals came in the third as Justin Bloxom led off the inning with a towering solo shot to right center. This was Blair’s first run given up on the season while with the Mudcats, as he had previously pitched two other scoreless outings over five inning.
The Mudcats answered the Nationals’ run in the bottom of the third. Carlos Moncrief smacked a single to left with Delvi Cid on second and Tyler Holt on first with one out. Cid scored on the play as Holt moved to second. After a flyout to right by Tony Wolters, Jeremie Tice hit a perfectly placed pop up behind first that would fall in front of the right fielder Randolph Oduber and just out of the reach of the second baseman Rick Hague. Holt scored easily from second, and the speedy Moncrief was able to come all the way around from first, giving the Mudcats a 3-1 lead after three.
The Mudcats would pick up another run in the fifth to push the lead to 4-1 while chasing Nationals starter Matt Grace from the game. Holt led off the inning with a walk and then was moved to second by a sacrifice bunt by Wolters. With Moncrief batting, Holt took off for third. Holt came around to score on the steal attempt when the throw by catcher David Freitas sailed into left field. Moncrief grounded out to second, ending the night for Grace as the Nationals brought in Joe Testa. Grace went four and two third innings giving up four runs on six hits.
The Nationals looked to capitalize right away off the Mudcats bullpen in the sixth as JD Reichenbach came into the game. Randolph Oduber led off the sixth with a double off the left field wall. He was moved to third on a groundout to second by Blake Kelso. However Reichenbach would wiggle his way out of the jam as he induced a groundball back to the mound by Adrian Sanchez and then struck out Rick Hague to end the threat.
Reichenbach got into trouble again in the seventh as he loaded up the bases. David Freitas walked to lead off the inning and then following a line out and a fielder choice that let Michael Taylor reach, Justin Bloxom singled and then Wade Moore was hit by a pitch to load up the bases with two outs. Following the hit batter the Mudcats would bring in Trey Haley. Haley would end the threat as he induced a groundout to second by Oduber.
The Mudcats would tack on some more in the seventh with the help of back-to-back walks by Tyler Holt and Tony Wolters. Testa would come out of the game after a strikeout by Carlos Moncrief, and the Nationals brought in Wilson Eusebio. The Mudcats greeted Eusebio with a three-run shot to the first man he faced, Jeremie Tice, putting the lead at 7-1 after seven.
Back-to-back walks by Ronny Rodriguez and Tyler Cannon put runners on first and second, and Cid would replace Cannon, thanks to a Fielder’s Choice. Tyler Holt was hit by a pitch to load up the bases with one out in the eighth. Tony Wolters then doubled to right field, scoring Rodriguez and Cid, giving the Mudcats their final tally of 9-1.
DH Jeremie Tice has been one of the hottest players on the team over the past month, and he continued his tear Saturday night. “He [Tice] has been swinging the bat well and he’s very important part of the lineup” said Manager Edwin Rodriguez about Tice. Tyler Holt also had an outstanding night reaching base five times, three times by walk, and scored three runs. “The offense has been swinging very well, having good at bats” said Rodriguez.
Blair, trying to work his way back towards top-prospect status, continued his solid work since joining the Mudcats two weeks ago. “We were expecting four innings from him [Blair] and he did an outstanding job he gave us five and the bullpen came in and did a hell of a job” said Rodriguez after the game.
The Mudcats will look to get the series sweep against the Nationals as they will face off again Sunday at 2:00 at Five County Stadium.