Zebulon, NC-The Potomac Nationals (37-26, 15-14) split their twin bill made up of a pair of seven-inning matchups with the Carolina Mudcats (21-43, 14-22) on Tuesday evening at Five County Stadium as the Nationals got walloped 11-3 in the opener and Potomac returned fire with a 3-1 win in the doubleheader nightcap. In the tale of two All-Star pitchers for Potomac, one underwent his shortest outing of the season, a rare setback, while another supplemented his fantastic first half.
The Mudcats used a pair of five-run frames in the opener as the losing pitcher, Potomac RHP Blake Schwartz (5-2) only made it through 1.0 inning and allowed five earned runs on five hits with one walk. Schwartz will be headed to the 2013 California/Carolina League All-Star.
In the 1st inning, Schwartz surrendered a three-run home run to 1B Jerrud Sabourin, his third dinger of the season, a lazer beam over the short porch in right field. A double to the right field wall belted by LF Bo Greenwell led to an error by 2B Adrian Sanchez on a dropped cut-off throw from RF Caleb Ramsey to allow RF Jordan Smith, who singled, to come home and score. DH Zack MacPhee ripped an RBI single into right field to cap the scoring. The Mudcats brought ten men to the plate in the opening stanza.
Carolina RHP Cody Anderson (6-3) was the winning pitcher after taking a perfect game into the 4th inning broken up by a single off the bat of Ramsey, and keeping the P-Nats scoreless through 5.0 innings while fanning four and walking no one.
The Mudcats collected an additional five-run showing off RHP Brian Dupra in the 3rd when CF Tyler Naquin crushed a grand slam home run that just stayed fair inside the right field pole, his sixth four-bagger of the season. Then, 2B Joey Wendle cranked a solo shot over the short right field fence, the fifth of his campaign.
Carolina added one more run in the 5th inning due to a wild pitch by RHP Greg Holt, who allowed that one earned run on one hit in 2.0 innings.
Potomac finally got on the board in the 6th inning using C Cole Leonida's fourth deep ball of the season crushed to the base of the scoreboard out to left center, and a three-run jack off the stick of Ramsey tattooed over the stanchion in right field. Both longballs came off Carolina RHP Grant Sides.
A product of nearby Elon University, Mudcats LHP J.D. Reichenbach hurled a scoreless ninth to close the door on the one-sided 11-3 victory for Carolina.
In the nightcap, Nationals LHP Robbie Ray (5-2), the winning pitcher of record, dominated the Mudcats with a complete game seven-inning victory in which the fireballer allowed just one earned run on two hits to the same batter, 3B Paddy Matera.
This was the lowest hit total in one game on the 2013 campaign for the Carolina Mudcats.
Ray walked back-to-back batters to begin the bottom of the 1st inning, Naquin and SS Francisco Lindor. After that early adversity, Ray retired 12 of the next 14 batters. The southpaw surrendered just a leadoff single to Matera in the 3rd, a hard hit single through the six hole, and a walk to Smith in the 4th frame.
Potomac tallied an individual run off RHP Nicholas Pasquale (0-4), the losing pitcher who remains defeated on the season, in the 3rd inning on an RBI single yanked through the left side of the infield by SS Jason Martinson.
Back-to-back doubles yielded one run off RHP Rob Nixon in the 4th as C Adrian Nieto blasted a fly ball against the barrier in right center field before 1B Kevin Keyes sprayed a deep two-base hit over the head of Smith in right field to summon home Nieto.
Carolina tallied their lone run with the first home run for Matera in the affiliated professional game, a moon shot off the scoreboard in left center in the 5th.
In the 7th stanza, CF Michael Taylor absolutely demolished an offering from Carolina RHP Jeff Johnson, a solo shot, which was the first home run Johnson has allowed all season to pad the Nationals lead putting Potomac up 3-1.
Ray finished off the Game Two contest by sitting down the Mudcats in order in the 7th as Ramsey made a terrific catch on a ball in the front row up the right field line for out number one before Ray induced 4-3 groundouts in succession to ink the 3-1 Nationals triumph.
The Game Three rubber match will send Potomac RHP Brian Rauh (0-0, 0.00) to the mound for his P-Nats debut and he will face Carolina RHP Mason Radeke (0-1, 13.50). First pitch is slated for 7:15pm.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will begin streaming with the P-Nats Baseball Lead-Off Show at 7:00pm in preparation for the live play-by-play 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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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.