Mudcats squeeze past Potomac Nationals, 3-2
Carolina (58-55-Overall, 36-25-Home, 24-20-Second Half) used a safety squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth to plate the eventual winning run and hold on a for a 3-2 victory in the rubber match against Potomac (51-61-Overall, 25-33-Road, 18-24-Second Half) on Sunday night at Five County Stadium.
SS Johan Camargo, with one out in the eighth and the go-ahead run at third in the form of 1B Joey Meneses, dropped down a beautiful bunt in no man’s land between the pitcher’s mound and first base that RHP Derek Self (3-5, 3.75) fielded and threw home. The sweep tag by C Zach Wright was late and Carolina took a 3-2 lead.
LHP Matthew Spann made his eighth start for Potomac and first of the season in the rubber match against the Carolina Mudcats. Matthew Spann in both the second and third frames issued a two-out walk to load the bases and both times recorded a strikeout to strand the bags full. In the second his victim was RF Connor Lien and in the third it was C Jose Briceno. Spann pitched 5.2 innings and gave up two runs (both earned) on five hits, five walks and a season high seven strikeouts and did not factor in the decision.
Potomac staked Spann to a lead from the word go in the ballgame against Carolina’s LHP Blair Walters, who toed the rubber for the 17th time and his third against Potomac in 2015. CF Rafael Bautista was hit by a pitch to begin the offense for The Red, White and Blue. He moved to second on RF Narciso Mesa’s groundout and then swiped third, his ninth stolen base of the season. 1B Grant DeBruin was the next man up and he popped an RBI single into right field to bring home Bautista for the early 1-0 P-Nats lead.
The Nationals added a run in the third after Spann’s exploits in the second on an infield chopped single by Bautista. Mesa followed with an infield bunt single. DH John Wooten followed with a fielder’s choice ball that moved Bautista to third base and saw Mesa put out at second base. It was again DeBruin who knocked in Bautista, this time with an RBI groundout to push the lead to 2-0 Potomac.
Walters held Potomac off the scoreboard after their run in the third inning and only gave up one hit over his final four innings on the mound. It was a seven inning night for Walters, allowing two runs (both earned) on four hits, three walks and he did not record a strikeout. He did not factor in the decision either.
Spann in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings issued a walk but was able to always dance out of the jam, never recording a one, two, three frame. In the sixth inning the walks finally came back to haunt Spanner.
He was able to retire the first two batters of the sixth frame with ease, getting Briceno to fly out to deep centerfield and 2B Reed Harper to ground out to SS Stephen Perez. SS Johan Camargo then drew a walk and Lien doubled him to third base. That spelled the end of the night for Spann and into the ballgame came LHP Jake Walsh. Curcio was the man up with two in scoring position and two down. Curcio took the first pitch from Walsh and chopped it into centerfield. Camargo scored and barely scoring in front of the throw from Bautista in centerfield to Wright at the plate was the trail man Lien to tie the game at 2-2.
Walsh came back out and hurled a scoreless, perfect seventh inning before Self entered the ballgame in the eighth. Walsh finished with 1.1 innings and allowed only one hit that cashed in Spann’s two runs.
Self, gave up the game winner in the eighth on the safety squeeze by Camargo and pitched one inning, giving up the run on two hits with two strikeouts, taking his fifth loss of the season.
It was RHP Bradley Roney (1-0, 0.00) who entered in the eighth for Carolina and hurled two scoreless innings to earn the win, giving up just one hit in the eighth.
Potomac is now 17-21 in one-run contests and will finish 2015 12-5 against Carolina, while dropping to seven games behind the Lynchburg Hillcats with the loss, who sit atop the Northern Division in the second half.
Potomac travels home now and after a league wide off day on Monday, will open up a series with the Winston-Salem Dash at Pfitzner Stadium with the conclusion of the suspended ballgame at BB&T ballpark on July 11th. First pitch in the resumption of the suspended contest will be at 5:00 pm with both pitchers to be determined. The originally scheduled game will then start 30-40 minutes following the conclusion of the suspended game.
With first pitch set for 5:00 pm you can listen live starting at 4:45 via the TuneIn Radio App or at www.potomacnationals.com with the “P-Nats Lead-Off Show.”
Tuesday night in Woodbridge is $2 Tuesday with Tacos and Tallboys.