Hummel's huge day leads Mudcats to 7-5 win versus Down East

Cooper Hummel fell a single shy of the cycle in his 2017 season debut on Thursday

Cooper Hummel finished a single shy of the cycle while going 3-for-3 with a double, triple, a home run, two runs and three RBIs in his 2017 debut. He also caught five pop outs, picked off a runner at first and reached base safely in all four of his at bats. (NIKOLAUS - Carolina Mudcats)

By Greg Young / Carolina Mudcats | May 18, 2017 4:01 PM ET

ZEBULON, N.C. - Cooper Hummel fell a single shy of the cycle in his season debut, Cody Ponce worked through the seventh for the sixth time this year and the Mudcats hit three home runs while defeating the Wood Ducks 7-5 on Thursday afternoon at Five County Stadium. The Mudcats also won the series three games to one and finished at 6-1 in their home stand.

Hummel doubled and scored a run in the third, tripled and drove in a run in the fourth, walked in the sixth and hit a two-run home run with two outs in the eighth while finishing his first game of the season 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. He also caught five pop outs, picked off a runner at first and reached base safely in all four of his at bats.

Carolina (21-19) led 1-0 in the third thanks to Hummel's run scoring double, but fell into a 1-1 tie when the Wood Ducks (15-25) rallied for a run on a Josh Morgan RBI double in the fourth. 

Ponce (4-3, 3.35) started for Carolina and held the Wood Ducks scoreless over the first three before giving up one run in the fourth. He later allowed one more run in the sixth after giving up a home run to Luis La O, but finished his outing by working through the seventh for the sixth time this season. Ponce struck out four, walked one and allowed just two runs on seven hits while earning the victory.

Troy Stokes Jr. broke the 1-1 tie in the fourth with a two-out, two-run home run to left. It was his fourth home run of the season and, at the time, gave him two legs of the cycle. Stokes also doubled in the second and finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Weston Wilson followed the Stokes homer with a single to center and Hummel then came through with his run scoring triple to right-center. The triple gave the Mudcats a 4-1 lead and was the club's sixth of the season. It was also Carolina's third triple over the last two games.

Trent Clark later led off the fifth with a solo home run to deep right-center and Carolina went up 5-1 on the Wood Ducks and starter Emerson Martinez. Martinez (0-4, 5.63) took the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits over six innings pitched. He also walked two and struck out five. Clark was 1-for-2, with a run, two RBI and his fourth home run of the year.

All three fourth inning runs for the Mudcats were scored with two outs in the frame. The same would also be true in the eighth when they added on two more runs on a two-out, two-run home run by Hummel, his first of the season. Wilson also started that rally with a two-out single and was 3-for-4 with two runs in the game.

The Mudcats led 5-2 after Ponce finished the seventh inning. Eric Hanhold took over out of the bullpen in the eighth and worked a scoreless frame before Carolina took a 7-2 lead in the game. Quintin Torres-Costa came on for the ninth, but allowed two Down East home runs and the Wood Ducks managed to cut the lead down to 7-5.

Michael O'Neill hit the first home run, a solo shot, and was 1-for-4 with two runs and one RBI. Josh Altmann had the second and was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs for the Wood Ducks.

Nate Griep came in once the Wood Ducks made it a two run game and eventually finished it while earning his sixth save. Grip (S, 6) faced just two batters and was able to get a lineout to left to end the game and seal the series finale victory.

Carolina took the series three games to one with Thursday's victory and improved to 6-1 in their home stand. They also improved to 21-19 overall and went to 14-13 at home this season. The Mudcats have now won eight of their last nine games and three of the last four series.

UP NEXT: The Mudcats will travel to Winston-Salem for the first time this season on Friday night while beginning a seven game road trip. Friday's game will begin at 7:00 p.m. at BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem and will air on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and carolinamudcats.com.

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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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