Nationals rally to knock off Mudcats, 7-6
Potomac overcame a three-run deficit to beat Carolina for three-straight games.
WOODBRIDGE, VA — The Carolina Mudcats fell to the Potomac Nationals 7-6 Sunday as Carolina’s losing streak grew to four.
The P-Nats overcame an early three-run deficit and managed to hold on late to defeat the Mudcats for the third consecutive evening.
Carolina seemed poised to avoid the sweep early, jumping on Nationals starter Matt Swynenberg in the top of the first. With two away, Jerrud Sabourin singled to right then scored on Alex Monsalve’s triple as Carolina drew first blood. Eric Haase quickly doubled the lead with a two-bagger to left then scored a run of his own as LeVon Washington reached on a Swynenberg fielding error putting the Mudcats up 3-0.
But Potomac managed a rally of their own in the bottom of the third against Cole Sulser. Khayyan Norfork led off with a bunt single before Sulser walked Brandon Miller and Pedro Severino to load the bases. Isaac Ballou then popped out for the first out, but Tony Renda followed with a single to right as Norfork scored Potomac’s first run. After Estarlin Martinez went down on strikes, Sulser hit Randolph Oduber allowing Miller to score. Stephen Perez then put the Nationals ahead with a single to right scoring Severino and Renda as Potomac grabbed the lead at 4-3.
The rough inning ended Sulser’s (4-12, 5.48) day after 3.0 innings. He took the loss allowing four earned runs on three hits while walking two and striking out three.
Potomac tacked on another an inning later against Jacob Lee as Ballou’s sacrifice fly to left plated Norfork, who singled to open the frame.
The Nationals again added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Oduber led off with an infield single then stole second. After a Perez groundout, Mike McQuillan uncorked a two-run shot to right off Lee as Potomac’s lead ballooned to 7-3.
The Mudcats nearly did just that in the top of the ninth. Singles from Luigi Rodriguez and James Roberts followed by a Logan Vick walk loaded the bases. This prompted Potomac to turn to southpaw Jake Walsh. Walsh didn’t help the situation, walking Yhoxian Medina to bring the Mudcats within three. Yandy Diaz then made things much more uncomfortable for Walsh and the P-Nats as the third baseman plated two with a base hit up the middle.
With the tying run at second and still nobody out, Sabourin went down swinging before Monsalve moved Medina to third and Diaz to second with a groundout to second. But 90 feet would be the closest Carolina would get the tying run to the plate, as Walsh escaped the jam forcing Haase to end the game with a groundout to short.
This was the last regular season meeting between Carolina and Potomac, a matchup the Mudcats will be glad to be done with as the P-Nats took 15 of 19 from Scooter Tucker’s club.
The Mudcats are now 25-30 for the second half and find themselves in fourth place in the Carolina League’s Southern Division. They sit a half game behind Winston-Salem, but more importantly they are now 3.5 games behind the Salem Red Sox for the final playoff spot.
The Mudcats are off Monday before returning home to Five County Stadium for a three-game series against the Frederick Keys beginning Tuesday.