Mudcats

Mudcats outslug Nationals in first half finale

Posted 7:35 p.m. Sunday

Brandon Diaz hit a three-run home run in the second, Troy Stokes Jr. led off the third with a solo home run and Weston Wilson had a three-run homer in the sixth while driving in a career high five RBIs as the Mudcats slugged their way to an 11-10 first half finale victory against the Nationals at Five County Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Mudcats (36-32) homered three times in Sunday’s series and first half finale against the Nationals (33-37) in Zebulon. The victory lifted the Mudcats into a 2-2 series split with Potomac and put Carolina four games above .500 on the final day of the first half schedule.

Cooper Hummel started the scoring barrage with a RBI single in the second before Diaz followed with his three-run home run in the same frame. The home run was also his first hit of the season and gave the Mudcats a 4-0 lead in the second. Diaz finished the game 1-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs.

Stokes led off the Carolina third with solo home run while giving the Mudcats a 5-0 after just three in Sunday’s game. Stokes was 2-for-5 with two runs, two walks and a RBI in the game. He also stole a base and finished the first half with 14 stolen bases and a team high 11 home runs.

Luis Reyes started for Potomac and had worked through a scoreless first before giving up the home runs to Diaz and Stokes in the second and third. He stayed in the game through the fourth, but ended up allowing seven runs on seven hits. He also walked six and struck out five.

Marcos Diplan started for the Mudcats and retired the first nine he faced in consecutive order to start the game, before allowing five runs between the fourth and fifth. Diplan lost the 5-0 lead midway through the game and ended up allowing five runs (four earned) over five innings pitched. He also finished with four walks and struck out four.

Wilson broke the 5-5 tie with a two-run bases loaded single off the left field wall in the fifth and the Mudcats led again 7-5. Wilson drove in a career high five RBIs in the game and was 3-for-5. His final hit came in the sixth after he launched a three-run home run to left. The home run was his first of the year, and came shortly after Potomac’s Bryan Mejia hit a go-ahead grand slam in the top of the same inning.

The Nationals picked up their only lead of the game in the top of the sixth after Mejia launched his grand slam off Carolina’s Conor Harber. Diplan left after the fifth and Harber (BS, 1) took over with the Mudcats leading 7-5. He then went on to walk four and allowed three hits and four runs while recording just two outs in the sixth.

Quintin Torres-Costa later finished the sixth and struck out the only batter he faced while leaving three inherited runners on base. Torres-Costa (6-2, 4.05) went on to finish the game and struck out seven over three and 1/3 innings while earning the victory. He struck out the side in the seventh, allowed a run and one hit in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth while finishing the victory.

Tyler Skulina (1-1, 5.19) suffered the loss after allowing four runs and four hits over three innings pitched. He also walked three and struck out five. Kyle Schepel also pitched and allowed just the one hit over a scoreless frame.

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