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Mudcats skid extends to five after loss to Nationals, 3-2

Carolina lost it's fifth-straight despite recording 13 hits on Saturday.

Mudcats skid extends to five after loss to Nationals, 3-2
James Roberts went 2-for-4 and scored a run in the Mudcats 3-2 loss on Saturday. (Photo credit: Tony Lastoria)
July 26, 2014
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WOODBRIDGE, VA - The Carolina Mudcats suffered a hearbreaking loss as they fell 3-2 to the Potomac Nationals on Saturday night. The Mudcats tied the game with a late run in the top of the ninth but a walk off RBI single from Mike McQuillan proved to be the difference.

Saturday night's loss is the fifth straight for Scooter Tucker and the Mudcats (19-17, 48-55)  who have struggled after racing to the top of the Carolina Southern League Division.

After falling behind 2-1, the Mudcats fought back with a ninth inning score to keep the game alive. James Roberts poked a leadoff single past Potomac shortstop Stephen Perez to give Carolina some life. Back to back outs from Logan Vick and Todd Hankins brought the Mudcats to their final out but the Nationals couldn't close the game out. A wild pitch from Pedro Encarnacion advanced Roberts to second and consecutive singles from Joe Sever and Yandy Diaz plated the Carolina second baseman to knot the game at two runs apiece.

But Potomac (19-16, 57-46) would answer with a textbook example of small ball in the bottom half of the inning. Stephen Perez reached scoring position after a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt from Randolph Oduber. McQuillan then scored the Potomac shortstop with a walk off single on a line drive to left to put the Nationals on top.

The Mudcats loss could be attributed to clutch play from the Nationals and poor situational hitting from Carolina hitters.

Despite out hitting the Nationals 13-6, the Mudcats failed to turn the hits into runs. Carolina went 4-16 with runners in scoring position and left twelve runners on base.

Carolina starter Michael Peoples (7-7, 4.48) gave the Mudcats a chance to win after surrendering two earned runs off of four hits in 5.2 innings. Peoples struck out four Nationals batters and gave up two walks during his fifteenth start of the year.

Josh Martin (4-5, 3.90) shouldered the loss after giving up the decisive run in the bottom of the ninth.

Potomac starter Ian Dickson gave up eight hits in 5.2 innings but managed to hold the Mudcats to only a single run.

Pedro Encarnacion (2-3, 5.33) earned the win for the Nationals after holding the Mudcats to a single run and five hits in 3.1 innings.

The exciting finish to the game was preceded by some sparring between the two sides. .  

The Nationals etched out an early lead behind a two out home run from Mike McQuillan in the bottom of the second.

Carolina got the run back in the following frame to level the score back at one run apiece. Logan Vick knocked a leadoff double down the first base line and moved to third on a Hankins sacrifice bunt to set up the score. Shortstop Yhoxian Medina finished things off with a single to right that brought Vick in to score.

Peoples held the Nationals scoreless over the next two innings, but a lack of command in the sixth inning led to a Potomac score. 

With two outs already in the books, Potomac used a single from Tony Renda and consecutive walks of Shawn Pleffner and Oscar Tejeda to load the bases.

Peoples was then replaced by Jacob Lee who threw four more balls to walk Stephen Perez and force in the second Potomac run of the game.

The Mudcats will look to turn things around on Sunday as they close out their series with the Potomac Nationals. Right-hander Dylan Baker is set to start for Carolina and will face Dakota Bacus from the Nationals.

Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.

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