ZEBULON, N.C. – The Carolina Mudcats battled through the rain as they opened their series against the Potomac Nationals on Monday night with their first shutout of the season, winning 3-0 in the friendly confines of Five County Stadium.
You can accredit the win to the Mudcats’ stellar pitching and defense.
Right-handed pitcher Cody Anderson
made his fourth start for the Mudcats and earned the win by pitching six seamless innings. Anderson’s ending line included four hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
Manager David Wallace was pleased with his starter’s consistent pitching that was clearly vital for the shutout.
“I was very happy, obviously, with Cody Anderson’s start. He gave us six strong innings. Our offense has been struggling a little bit, and for him to go out there and shut them down the way he did was huge. It gave us a chance to get in and get the bats going a little bit,” Wallace said.
Not faring as well as Anderson, the Nationals’ starting right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan
took the loss after pitching 5.1 innings, ending with two earned runs on seven hits.
The Mudcats’ struggling offense set the tempo early with a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin
and shortstop Francisco Lindor
started off the inning with singles. First baseman Jerrud Sabourin
loaded the bases with nobody out after a fielding error. With the Mudcats in perfect scoring position, right fielder Jordan Smith
scored Naquin on an RBI single.
Smith, who has been struggling in the early going this season with his offense, turned in a tremendous game on defense.
In the bottom of the third, with two outs and runners on first and third, Nationals’ designated hitter Jason Martinson
blasted a fly ball into right field. It looked as if the Nationals were going to tie the score until Smith ran down the ball at the warning track and executed an amazing over the shoulder basket catch for the third out.
Smith’s night only got better in the field when he turned in a SportsCenter worthy diving catch to close out the top of the fourth, and a double play catch, caught on his knees, for the final out in the sixth.
“We played good defense, especially with Jordan Smith out in right field. It’s not everyday you talk about the right fielder making multiple plays and he made multiple great plays. He made a significant impact on the game,” Wallace said.
The Mudcats held the Nationals 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth inning. Third baseman Justin Toole
drove in designated hitter Anthony Gallas
to double the Mudcats’ score 2-0. But the Mudcats weren’t finished with the Nationals.
In the eighth inning, left fielder Bryson Myles
hit a lead off homerun on a fly ball to left field, burying the Nationals 3-0.
Right-handed pitcher Jeff Johnson
earned his third save of the season for the Mudcats, finishing off the game with 1.1 untouched innings.
The Mudcats are back in action Tuesday night to play the second game of the four game series against the Potomac Nationals. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Five County Stadium.