Valerio’s Late Game Blast Rallies Mudcats Past Potomac
Catcher's heroics at the plate and in the field lead Carolina to victory
Woodbridge, Va. – Carolina Mudcats catcher Charlie Valerio’s second home run of the year came at just the right time. His tenth inning, game-winning home run lifted the Mudcats past the Potomac Nationals 3-2. With the win on Wednesday night, Carolina stopped a four-game slide.
Potomac struck first with a two-run blast in the second inning by catcher Adrian Nieto off Joseph Colon, who was in his Carolina League debut after being promoted from the Lake County Captains. The score remained 2-0 until designated hitter Justin Toole singled home right fielder Jordan Smith with two outs in the fourth. The Mudcats evened up the game at two apiece when shortstop Francisco Lindor doubled home second baseman Zack MacPhee following a leadoff walk.
Pitching ruled most of the contest with a combined 24 strikeouts by the two teams. Not everyone agreed with the strike zone, though, as Smith was ejected in the fifth after arguing balls and strikes with the home-plate umpire. Hitting coach Rouglas Odor was also ejected moments later in the argument.
The two teams worked scoreless frames until the tenth, and after Valerio’s homer, Potomac attempted one last rally. Nationals left fielder Billy Burns drew a walk off Johnson with two outs, but was punched out by Valerio when he tried to steal second.
Carolina returns to action at Pfitzner Stadium on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. The Mudcats return home on May 3-5 to host the Frederick Keys.