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ZEBULON — The Potomac Nationals scored eight runs in the last two innings of Sunday’s Single-A Carolina League game, running away to a 9-1 victory and denying the host Carolina Mudcats of a four-game series sweep at Five County Stadium.
The Mudcats (6-5 second half, 45-35 overall), who downed the Nationals 7-5 in Saturday’s game, saw their bullpen blow up in Sunday’s series finale. Starting pitcher Matt Smith pitched five scoreless innings, giving up three hits and walking none, before turning it over to Matt Hardy, who gave up a two-out RBI single to Aldrem Corredor in the top of the sixth.
The Mudcats responded in the bottom of the inning when Ryan Aguilar singled and later scored on Mario Feliciano’s two-out single that caromed off the wall in left field.
But the Nationals (4-7, 34-44) rocked reliever Justin Topa (1-2) for three runs in the eighth and added five more against Clayton Andrews and Phil Bickford in the ninth.
Reliever Carson Teel (3-1) pitched the seventh and eighth for Potomac to pick up the win.
In Saturday’s game, Carolina overcame a three-run first inning by Potomac to go ahead 5-3 with three runs of its own in the third. Both Andrews and Aguilar went 3 for 4 with two RBIs each for the Mudcats. Third baseman Pat McInerney swatted a solo homer, his fifth of the season, and doubled as Carolina matched Potomac’s 11 hits.
Christian Taugner toiled six innings to get the mound win, his third against five losses, while Rodrigo Benoit pitched a scoreless ninth for his 12th save.
The Mudcats hit the road for three-games in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, against the Pelicans, starting Monday evening.