by Mike Potter
FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats have gotten off to a nice start in the second half, and they’ll try to keep it going in the second of their three-game series against the Potomac Nationals tonight.
Carolina will send Danny Salazar (0-2, 3.00) to the hill against the Nationals’ Trevor Holder (5-2, 3.52).
This is the Mudcats’ night, as they slug four homers in a 15-hit attack in an 11-1 rout.
The Mudcats come out swinging and connecting off Holder. With one out in the first Tony Wolters singles to left, followed by a single from Giovanny Urshela and RBI singles from Jesus Aguilar and Bo Greenwell.
They pour on three more runs with a two-out rally in the second. Wolters doubles to left, followed by another double from Urshela before Aguilar launches a 1-1 offering over the wall just inside the left-field foul pole to make it 5-0.
The Mudcats add another in the third, as Anthony Gallas leads off with a double and scores on Justin Toole’s one-out single.
Salazar, who is still climbing back from Tommy John surgery, gets through the four shutout innings and allows two hits, striking out three without a walk.
Urshela opens up the fourth by launching the first pitch over the left-field wall to make it 7-0.
Potomac finally gets on the board in the sixth, as Rick Hague hits a one-out triple to left and scores on David Freitas’ one-out single to left.
Carolina tacks on two more in the sixth. Tyler Holt leads off with a single, and then with two out Aguilar makes it 9-1 by launching Ryan Demmin’s 2-2 offering over the Catfish Corner fence in right.
Ronny Rodriguez makes it 10-1, leading off the seventh by launching an 0-2 offering over the wall in left.
The Mudcats add another in the eighth as Holt reaches on an error and scores on Aguilar’s two-out double to left.
Aguilar ends up with the two homers, a double and a single for six RBI, while Urshela homers, doubles and singles for two RBI.
Jordan Cooper (4-3) gets the win in relief.
They said it …
Mudcats manager Edwin Rodriguez: “We have the youngest team in the league, and it’s good to see the guys making adjustments. We aren’t wasting at-bats. Salazar pitched well. He was on a 65-pitch limit and he should be able to go five next time. The breaking ball and the changeup were working and he was throwing them for strikes.”
Aguilar: “I just tried to make hard contact. I wasn’t thinking about bombs or whatever. I just go to the plate trying to make hard contact, try to play my game and not to do too much.”
Urshela: “I just wanted to drive the ball in the gap. We’re all doing a good job right now and that’s why we’re winning more games.”
What does it all mean?
That the Mudcats are right in the thick of the Southern Division race, trailing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans by a single game in the Carolina League’s Southern Division race.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Aguilar’s homer in the second.
Mudcats: Won 2.
Potomac: Lost 2.
Mudcats lead 6-2.
Mudcats (Mike Rayl 4-7, 4.66) vs. Potomac (Matt Grace 4-7, 6.56), 7:15 p.m.