Mudcats go postal on the Nationals, 12-5
Woodbridge - With an impressive 12-5 victory, the Carolina Mudcats visited Northern Virginia Friday evening and dismantled the Potomac Nationals in front of their home crowd at Pfitzner Stadium.
Mudcats’ designated hitter Jeremie Tice turned in an MVP performance by going 3-for-5 with a double, a home run and four runs batted in. Tice’s eighth home run of the year was a towering three run shot to left field in the third inning.
Carolina pitcher Jordan Cooper proved his value with four strong shutout innings of relief work. Earning his first win of the season, Cooper held the Nationals to a single hit while striking out five batters.
After three innings, Carolina held a slim 6-5 lead over the Nationals. In the top of the fourth inning, the Mudcats continued to dominate Nationals’ starting pitcher Matthew Grace.
Carolina left fielder Anthony Gallas lead off the inning with a single and center fielder Tyler Holt drove him home with his fourth triple of the season to extend the Mudcats lead to 7-5.
With one out in the fourth, second baseman Tony Wolters made it 8-5 when he grounded out to first base allowing Holt to score from third.
In the top of the sixth, the Nationals made a pitching change and brought in reliever Bobby Hansen to replace the struggling Grace. Over five innings, Grace gave up a staggering 12 hits while allowing eight runs to score with only two strikeouts recorded.
Hansen came in and was unable to shut down the Mudcats offensive onslaught. He retired the first two batters in the sixth but nailed Carolina first baseman Jesus Aguilar with a careless pitch. With a runner at first, Tice doubled off Hansen with a line drive to left field and Aguilar scored on the play to give the Mudcats a solid 9-5 lead.
Following a scoreless seventh inning by both teams, the Mudcats added one run in the eighth and two in the ninth to finish with a 12-5 victory. Carolina recorded 18 hits against four Nationals’ pitchers and committed zero defensive errors.
In four games against the Potomac Nationals, Carolina is perfect with 33 totals runs scored versus only 10 runs allowed.
At 21-19, the Mudcats are still in fourth place in the Southern Division of the Carolina League. However, they are only three games behind the league leading Winston-Salem Dash.
Carolina continues their three game road trip to Virginia with game two against the Nationals on Saturday night at 6:35 p.m.