Mudcats big first inning leads to easy 9-2 win
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (16-16) opened a three game series against the Potomac Nationals (13-17) at Five County Stadium on Friday with a 9-2 win.
The Mudcats offense came to life against the Nationals compiling a total of nine extra base hits, eight of which were doubles. A seven run first inning in which the first seven batters reached proved to be all the Mudcats would need to win the game.
The offensive explosion cane a day after the Mudcats scored a total of two runs in a double header against Myrtle Beach on Thursday.
“We struggled," Mudcats manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "We faced very good pitching yesterday but today we came out swinging and we were very aggressive and we have to stay aggressive. They did a very good job."
Mudcats pitching also shined on Friday night.
Michael Goodnight looked to build upon his previous outing, but was only able to go three and two third innings. In the fourth inning with one out Goodnight was struck by a line drive in his pitching arm that forced him to leave the game. Up until that point Goodnight had only allowed one run and has only given up two earned runs in his previous two starts combined.
“[The trainers] think it’s nothing serious, we’re going to wait and see how he comes out tomorrow,” Rodriguez said after the game.
The bullpen came in and continued to pitch well as Jordan Cooper earned the win and went two and a third innings giving up one run. Dale Dickerson also pitched two scoreless innings while striking out four. Jose Flores came in for the ninth and finishd the game.
Back to back doubles by Tyler Holt and Tony Wolters to lead off the bottom of the first gave the Mudcats the first run of the game but they wouldn’t stop there. Following a walk by Carlos Moncrief another double this time by Jesus Aguilar gave slumping Jake Lowery men on second and third with no outs. Lowery would break out of his slump by blasting a three run homer over the right field wall.
Following the home run Anthony Gallas and Ronny Rodriguez got into the act with back to back doubles. Gallas was unable to score on Rodriguez’s double as he wasn’t sure if it was going to be caught. Gallas ended up scoring anyway on a groundout by Justin Toole. Rodriguez who moved to third on Toole’s groundout, scored on a groundout by Cannon to give the Mudcats a 7-0 lead after one.
The Nationals scored their first run in the third as Rick Hague came up with a two out single to score Kelso from third.
The Mudcats looked to put another run up in the fourth as Cannon led off the inning with a double. It looked like Winters would be able to wiggle around the lead off double as he was able to get Holt to pop out to short and Wolters to line to short. However with two outs Moncrief hit a soft liner over third that brought in Cannon for the Mudcats eighth run of the game giving them an 8-1 lead after four.
The Nationals pushed across their second run of the game off a fluky hit. With two outs and men on second and third Zach Walters hit a groundball down the line that hit the first base bag. After hitting the bag the ball bounced away from Aguilar who was unable to make a play on Walters at first as Kelso who reached on a throwing error by Ronny Rodriguez scored.
The Mudcats were able to match the Nationals run in the bottom of the fifth. Lowery doubled down the right field line and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Gallas then knocked him in on a sac fly to center to put the score at 9-2.
Jake Lowery entered the game in a 2-for-40 slump and doubled that hit total as he went 2-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
“This is his first full season, [the pitchers] have been making adjustments to him and he has to make adjustments to the way they have been pitching him and I think he’s getting there," Rodriguez said.
The Mudcats will look to keep their record above .500 as they take on the Nationals again on Saturday evening at 6:15 at Five County Stadium.