Zebulon, NC-The Potomac Nationals (68-42, 26-15) were edged by the Carolina Mudcats (45-66, 23-18) on Monday night by the final score of 5-3 at Five County Stadium as the hosting club exploited three P-Nats' errors in the field and a series of baserunning blunders.
Ironically, Potomac Nationals pitchers gunned down 19 batters via the strikeout, a single-game, season-high for the 2013 season.
Carolina was outhit in the series opening contest 13-to-5 but was carried by a four-run 2nd inning. The Mudcats received a quality start from their eventual winning pitcher, LHP Shawn Morimando (8-10).
Morimando dealt 6.0 scoreless innings and surrendered six base hits while walking two and striking out a pair.
Nationals RHP Paul Demny (0-1), the losing pitcher, struck out eight hitters in 3.0 innings but allowed four runs, two earned, on two hits and three walks.
In the top of the 2nd, 1B Kevin Keyes, who singled, was back picked at first base to make a flyout double play after LF Brandon Miller skied a ball to the warning track in right field. RF Bo Greenwell threw to the cutoff man, 2B Joey Wendle, who completed the twin killing by tossing the ball on to 1B Charlie Valerio.
The four runs for the Mudcats in the home half of the 2nd scored after 3B Paddy Matera drew a leadoff walk before C Tony Wolters and Greenwell collected back-to-back singles. Demny got CF Jordan Smith on a called strike three. Then, SS Erik Gonzalez earned a bases loaded RBI base-on-balls. The difference maker in the game was when Valerio ripped a line drive to left center that went off Miller's glove after Miller took to sharp a route to the baseball which cleared the bases and gave the Mudcats a 4-0 lead. Valerio was credited with an RBI sacrifice fly because the lead runner, Wolters, would have scored regardless of whether Miller caught the ball or not. The other two runs, Greenwell and Gonzalez, were unearned to Demny.
In the 3rd inning, 2B Cutter Dykstra ripped a two-out double into the right field corner but was caught in between third base and home and eventually cut down 3-2-5-2 after an infield single knocked to the right side of the infield by RF Caleb Ramsey.
Potomac RHP Brian Dupra was terrific out of the bullpen and tied the single-game top mark for strikeouts by a Nationals reliever by fanning six men.
The P-Nats leaped on the board in the 8th frame when CF Michael Taylor launched his ninth home run of the season, a majestic, high-arching drive over the stacked signage in left field off Carolina RHP Josh Martin.
Nationals RHP David Fischer allowed one unearned run on two hits in 1.1 innings pitched while walking two and striking out a trio. The Mudcats produced one run in the 8th when Wolters singled and Greenwell walked. Fischer launched an errant pickoff attempt into center field before Smith lofted an RBI sacrifice fly to center field to propel Carolina to a 5-2 advantage.
P-Nats RHP Rob Wort tossed 0.2 innings and stashed two strikeouts.
Against Mudcats RHP Rob Nixon (SV 5) in the 9th, the Nationals plated one run on a controversial RBI fielder's choice bouncer off the bat of Dykstra. After 1B Justin Miller walked and DH Randolph Oduber punched a single through the right side, Dykstra yanked a grounder to the six hole and Gonzalez dealt sidearm to 2B Joey Wendle, who appeared to grip the ball only momentarily before the ball came loose into center field on the exchange from glove to bare hand. Miller came in to score but Base Umpire, Junior Valentine ruled that Oduber was out at second base because Wendle stepped on the bag and showed possession. Potomac Field Manager, Brian Daubach disagreed with the call, ran over to argue, and was ejected by Valentine. Ramsey then singled to left field and Taylor walked to loaded the bases. C Adrian Nieto ended the ballgame on a comebacker stabbed by Nixon that became a 1-2-3 double play ball.
Nixon garnered his fifth save of the 2013 campaign thanks to the twin killing.
Tuesday night will pit Potomac LHP Sammy Solis (2-0, 2.65) against Carolina RHP Joseph Colon (3-3, 3.52) for a 7:15pm first pitch.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will begin streaming Tuesday evening with the P-Nats Lead-Off Show at 7:00pm in preparation for the live play-by-play broadcast beginning at 7:15pm. Broadcast coverage of Potomac Nationals Baseball is accessible by heading to www.potomacnationals.com.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals. P-Nats 2013 season tickets and mini plans are on sale now. Sponsorship opportunities for the '13 season are now available. Plan your corporate outing now to see the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz as the P-Nats offer discounted group rates and all-inclusive picnic options. Visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the ticket office at 703-590-2311 for more!
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