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Big sixth pushes Nationals past Mudcats, 6-5

A five-run sixth inning was the difference in the game for Potomac on Friday.

Big sixth pushes Nationals past Mudcats, 6-5
Former Lake County Captain Eric Haase went 2-for-4 with a three-run blast in the second inning of Friday's 6-5 loss to Potomac. (Photo credit: Tony Lastoria)
August 15, 2014
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WOODBRIDGE, VA — A five-run bottom of the sixth allowed the Potomac Nationals to overcome an early deficit Friday as they defeated the Carolina Mudcats 6-5.

Carolina jumped ahead in the top of the second as Eric Haase’s first Carolina League homerun put the Mudcats ahead. After Alex Monsalve walked and Joe Sever singled up the middle, Haase sent Matthew Spann’s offering over the leftfield fence as the Mudcats went up 3-0.

The Nationals then grabbed one back in the bottom of the frame.  After Stephen Perez and John Wooten led off with consecutive singles, Estarlin Martinez got Potomac on the board with a base hit to left as Perez scored to make it 3-1.

This would be the lone run Potomac managed off Mike Clevinger in his first start with the Mudcats. Clevinger earned no decision, allowing one earned run on four hits in 5.0 innings of work. He walked one and fanned five.

Monsalve extended Carolina’s lead in the top of the fifth, doubling to right against Kylin Turnbull as Yandy Diazscored to put the Mudcats lead back at three.

An inning later, Carolina added to their lead again. James Roberts and Logan Vick opened the frame with a pair of singles, then Yhoxian Medina advanced the duo with a sacrifice bunt. An intentional walk to Diaz loaded the bases before Jerrud Sabourin scored Roberts on a groundout to the shortstop as the Mudcats led 5-1.

But Carolina’s largest lead of the night wouldn’t hold as the floodgates opened in the bottom of the sixth. WithClayton Cook on the hill, Isaac Ballou walked and Tony Renda singled to right to put men on the corners with nobody out. A Shawn Pleffner double then plated the pair before Cook finally got an out on Randolph Oduber’s grounder to third. Perez followed by plating Pleffner with a base hit to center, forcing a Carolina pitching change as the Mudcats then turned to Michael Peoples.

Peoples wouldn’t fare any better, as Wooten welcomed him to the festivities with a two-run shot to left completing the big inning as Potomac surged ahead 6-5.

Giving up the decisive long ball, Peoples (7-8, 4.48) was saddled with the loss. He allowed one earned run on three hits in 2.2 innings of relief.

Turnbull (2-3, 5.54) got the win for the P-Nats, allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits in 2.0 innings of work.

Gilberto Mendez shut the Mudcats down in the ninth as the right-hander picked up his tenth save of the campaign.

The Mudcats are now 25-28 on the second half, 1.5 games behind the Salem Red Sox for the final playoff spot in the Southern Division.

The series continues Saturday as the Mudcats will send D.J. Brown (2-6, 4.57) to the hill against Ian Dickson (3-8, 5.16) in a battle of righties. First pitch is set for 6:35 PM.

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