Mudcats drop sixth straight, lose to Nationals 6-5
Carolina rallied, but could not secure the victory over Potomac on Sunday.
WOODBRIDGE, VA — A frustrating spell for the Carolina Mudcats continued Sunday as they fell to the Potomac Nationals 6-5 in eleven innings.
Oscar Tejada’s walk off homer to left, his second long ball of the night, completed the series sweep for Potomac and handed the Mudcats their sixth consecutive defeat.
Clayton Cook (2-4, 5.18) was tagged with the loss for his role in the decisive bottom of the eleventh as Carolina fell to the Nationals in walk off fashion for the second straight evening.
Potomac appeared well on their way to the sweep early Sunday, scoring 5 off Mudcats starter Dylan Baker in the game’s first three innings.
Tejada’s first homer opened the scoring for the Nationals as his two-run shot to right brought in Shawn Pleffner as Potomac grabbed a 2-0 lead.
The Nationals then doubled their lead in the bottom of the second. With one away, Justin Miller walked and Pedro Severino singled to left before a James Roberts error at second allowed Isaac Ballou to reach safely and load the bases. Tony Renda then extended the Potomac advantage with an RBI single to left. Pleffner added another for the P-Nats sending a sacrifice fly to left as Severino scored to give the home team a 4-0 lead.
But Potomac quickly got the run back in the bottom of the frame. With a man on first and two away, Scooter Tucker turned to D.J. Brown in the bullpen. Brown proceeded to uncork a wild pitch to Justin Miller, the first batter he faced, as Estarlin Martinez advanced to second. Martinez then scored on Miller’s base hit to left as the Nationals grabbed a commanding 5-1 lead.
Baker’s final line saw him allow five runs, four earned, on five hits in 2.2 innings. The Mudcats late offensive rally took the right-hander off the hook as he earned no decision.
Carolina battled back to force extra innings striking for a pair each in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Mudcats drew level in the seventh with a two-out rally off Travis Henke. Hankins plated Roberts with a double to left before Medina brought in the centerfielder with a game tying base hit to right.
Brown and Grant Sides battled to keep the Potomac offense quiet after their early eruption. The pair of righties combined for 7.1 innings of shutout relief allowing Carolina’s offense to make their comeback.
But Carolina just couldn’t find the winning run in extra innings as Jake Walsh stymied the Mudcats hitters late. Walsh (3-0, 1.42) earned the win, holding Carolina scoreless in the game’s final 3.0 innings before Tejada’s decisive moonshot.
The loss drops the Mudcats to 19-18 on the second half and 48-56 overall. They still lead the Southern Division for the second half, sitting a half game ahead of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Winston-Salem Dash.
Potomac improves to 19-16 for the second half to sit at 58-46 for all of 2014. They lead the Northern Division by 2.0 games.
After a day off Monday, the Mudcats will head to Salem for a three-game series with the Red Sox. Adam Plutko (2-5, 4.94) is scheduled to start Tuesday’s opener for Carolina against fellow right-hander Joe Gunkel (2-3, 3.49).
First pitch from Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium is set for 7:05 PM.