Mudcats drop home finale 3-0
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (31-35) fell to the Potomac Nationals (30-35) 3-0 in the Mudcats' home finale.
A three run third by the Nationals would end up being the only scoring that the game would see as both sides pitched well throughout the game.
The Mudcats bats were stymied for most of the night by Nationals starter Matt Swynenberg. Swynenberg shut out the Mudcats through six innings as he only surrendered four hits and struck out six.
“They pitched one hell of a game. They were mixing up pitches very well. They pitched backwards using, their breaking balls in fastball counts. We just never made any adjustments on them,” Manager Edwin Rodriguez said.
Benny Suarez took the mound for the Mudcats and would not fair as well as he did in his debut start last week. Suarez went three innings and gave up three runs on four hits.
“Suarez was up in the zone tonight. He just didn’t have his stuff tonight. He was pitching behind in the count to almost every hitter; I don’t think he threw one first pitch strike. That was the problem tonight, just pitching behind in the count,” said Rodriguez.
However, after Suarez was removed from the game, the pitching greatly improved as relievers Kyle Blair and Josh Martin turned in excellent outings to keep the Mudcats in the game. Blair came in to relieve Suarez and tossed four scoreless innings and was followed by Martin, who tossed two scoreless innings.
“Today was a bullpen day. Suarez was on a limited pitch count, so we knew we were going to use the bullpen. It was good to see Blair come in and pitch like he did tonight and also Martin came in and pitched well. The bullpen kept us in the game,” Rodriguez said.
The Nationals would record their first hit of the game in the third as left fielder J.P Ramirez singled to right to start off the inning. The single by Ramirez would spark a rally as the next three batters for the Nationals would record a hit. Center fielder Francisco Soriano then doubled, which moved Ramirez to third. Then second baseman Adrian Sanchez then singled to center to drive in Ramirez as Soriano stopped at third. DH Matt Skole then singled to right to push across Soriano as Sanchez moved up to second. Following the four straight hits, two productive outs allowed the Nationals to put up their third run. Right fielder Kevin Keyes flied out to deep center to allow Sanchez to tag and move to third. Sanchez was then able to score on a sac fly by Shortstop Rick Hague to give the Nationals the 3-0 lead.
In the seventh, the Nationals turned to the bullpen and the Mudcats were finally able to put together a scoring threat off reliever Adam Carr. Carr wouldn’t help himself to start the inning as he walked right fielder Todd Hankins and catcher Alex Monsalve back-to-back to lead off the inning. DH Dwight Childs then flied out to center, but hit the ball deep enough for Hankins to tag and move to third to put runners on the corners for center fielder Mark Bradley. However, Carr would be able to get out of the inning as he induced an inning ending double play as Bradley grounded to short and was thrown out at first on a bang bang play.
The seventh would be the Mudcats only scoring threat as they just seemed out of funk at the plate all night.
The Mudcats will take to the road for the final time as they finish off the season with a three game series against the Frederick Keys starting on Saturday at 6:00.