By Darren Headrick / Carolina Mudcats (email@example.com)
Zebulon, NC June 9, 2014 — Shawn Morimando gave the Carolina Mudcats 6 1/3 innings on Monday night, but it wasn’t enough as the Potomac Nationals rallied for a 5-4 win at Five County Stadium. The Mudcats (27-35) have dropped two straight one-run games after leading at the midway point. The Nationals (35-28) have won nine of their last 11.
Morimando tossed his seventh quality start of the year, allowing just two runs on two hits. He walked a pair and struck out three in a no decision. The southpaw remains tied for the Carolina League lead with six wins.
Josh Martin (3-4) shoulders the loss after missing on his first save opportunity. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out four. Derek Self (3-0) got the win in relief after limiting the Mudcats to one run on five hits in two innings. He struck out three. Robert Benincasa hurled a 1-2-3 ninth for his tenth save.
Carolina pulled out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second against Nationals’ starter Brett Brach. James Roberts drove in Jeremy Lucas, who walked earlier in the inning, to put the Mudcats ahead.
The Nationals responded in the fifth with a run of their own to knot the game up. Justin Miller’s single put a runner on with two out for Pedro Severino and the Nationals’ catcher drove him in with a double.
The response by Carolina came quick in the last of the fifth. Brach plunked LeVon Washington to put one on. Joe Sever singled and moved Washington to second. Erik Gonzalez drove in Washington with a single over first to give Carolina the 2-1 lead while Sever advanced to third. Anthony Gallas grounded into a double play, which scored Sever for a 3-1 advantage.
The late innings were havoc for Carolina. Miller punched a two-out single to left in the seventh that scored Khayyan Norfork, cutting the deficit to one at 3-2. In the eighth, Norfolk, Will Piwnica-Worms, and Miller gave the P-Nats a 5-3 lead on consecutive two-out singles.
The Mudcats attempted to regain the lead in the bottom of the eighth with a RBI-double to left by Washington, but Sever was called out on strikes to end the threat.
Carolina continues their series with Potomac on Tuesday night. It’s Dollar Dog Night at Five County Stadium with a first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. Gates open at 6:15 p.m. Tickets and other information are available by calling the box office at (919) 269-2287 or by logging on to carolinamudcats.com.