Naquin, Smith lead Mudcats past Keys in 5-3 win
Frederick, Md. — Outfielders Tyler Naquin and Jordan Smith played critical roles in a 5-3 win for the Carolina Mudcats on Sunday night at Harry Grove Stadium. The pair combined for six hits against the Frederick Keys as the Mudcats (11-11, 33-59) returned to .500 in the second half.
Joe Colon (1-2) earned his first Carolina League win by holding the Keys (9-14, 43-49) to a run on three hits over six innings. The right-hander walked two, and struck out three. Rob Nixon tossed the final 1.1 innings without allowing a run for his first save.
Julio Rodriguez (0-2) absorbed the loss after surrendering four runs on five hits over four innings. He walked one to four strikeouts.
Naquin beat out his first hit of the day on a grounder towards third. With Smith batting, Naquin stole second, and advanced to third on a groundout. Bo Greenwell brought him in with a single to right.
Leading 1-0 in the third, Smith golfed his first of two doubles on the night to the right field wall. Greenwell hit a deep drive that was caught on the warning track, and Smith advanced to third. Joey Wendle made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to center.
Justin Toole began a rally in the fourth by drawing a two-out walk. Naquin lined a double to left-center, scoring the shortstop from first for a 3-0 lead. Smith followed with a line drive double to left-center that easily scored Naquin.
Frederick began to rally with a run in the sixth of Colon. Michael Ohlman hit into a fielder’s choice with runners at the corners to break-up the shutout. Against reliever Louis Head, Brenden Webb worked a two-out walk in the seventh. Sammie Starr followed with a double into the left field corner to plate Webb.
Ohlman launched an 0-2 pitch, with two away, in the eighth inning that reduced Carolina’s lead down to one, 4-3.
Not to be denied in the ninth, Naquin grounded a clutch triple down the left field line. Smith’s third hit of the evening scored Naquin for the final margin.
The Mudcats finish the series in Frederick on Monday, July 15th. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.