Mudcats lose 4-1 to Nationals
ZEBULON- The Carolina Mudcats (29-34) fell to the Potomac Nationals (29-33) 4-1 in the opening game of the final home series.
Michael Goodnight turned in a solid outing for the Mudcats tossing five innings while surrendering only one run.
"Goodnight battled his command but he kept us in the game," said manager Edwin Rodriguez. "He was effectively wild, he did a good job keeping us in the game. The only run they scored on him was on a ball that should have been caught."
The Nationals looked to add to their lead in the second as Goodnight was finding it hard to find the strike zone to start the inning. Goodnight walked the first batter of the inning, hit the second and then walked the third to load the bases up for left fielder J.P Ramirez. However Goodnight struck out Ramirez to get the first out off the inning. He then got Sanchez to ground into an inning ending double play to wiggle out of the jam to keep the deficit at one.
"We had no offense tonight outside of Gio and Ronny. We needed some more guys to step up," said Rodriguez.
Matt Grace was the man that kept the Mudcats offense from getting going as he pitched six plus innings giving up only one run. Grace was followed by solid performances from Aaron Barrett and Rob Wort out of the Nationals bullpen as they combined to pitch three scoreless innings.
Second baseman Ronny Rodriguez tied the game in the bottom of the second after the Nationals failed to build on their lead. Rodriguez lead off the second with a long fly ball off the left field scoreboard for his 19th homer of the year.
Goodnight put himself right back in another tough situation in teh third inning as he gave up a lead off triple to Kelso. However Goodnight once again found a way to get out of the jam without giving up a run. Goodnight struck out Skole, then got right fielder Kevin Keyes to ground out to short with the infield in and then struck out center fielder Steven Souza Jr to end the inning and the threat.
After getting two straight singles to lead off the fourth inning by third baseman Giovanny Urshlea and DH Tyler Cannon the Mudcats failed to push across a run. Rodriguez grounded into a fielders choice that put runners on the corners, and Urshela was thrown out at home as he tried to score on a ground ball to third hit by center fielder Delvi Cid. Left Fielder Todd Hankins struck out to end the threat.
Goodnight departed after five innings and Josh Martin came into the game in the sixth inning and made his Carolina League debut. He was greeted rudley as he allowed a solo blast to Keyes to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.
The first two batters would reach for the Mudcats in the seventh as they chased Grace from the game. Cid started the inning with an infield single and then left fielder Todd Hankins walked to put runners on first and second with no outs for catcher Dwight Childs. The Nationals pulled Grace in favor of Aaron Barrett to face Childs. Barrett cleaned up Grace's mess as he got Childs to strike out and then struck out right fielder Mark Bradley and caught Cid attempting to steal third to end the inning.
The Nationals tacked on two more in the eighth as they extended their lead to three at 4-1. Sanchez led off the inning with a single to left and moved to second on a sac bunt by Kelso. Skole drove a ball off the top of the wall in right for a double to bring in Kelso. Keyes backed up Skole's double with a double of his own as he smacked a liner just inside the third base bag to bring home Skole.
The Mudcats will look to get back on track as they take the field at 7:15 Wednesday for the second game of the series against the Nationals.