ZEBULON, N.C. – Micah Bello went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and three RBI, Jheremy Vargas also had three hits and two runs, starter Brannon Jordan totaled seven strikeouts over three innings, and reliever Carlos Rodriguez earned his first victory as a pro as the Mudcats won their second straight 8-2 versus the Wood Ducks on Saturday night at Five County Stadium.

Bello’s second double of the night was a go-ahead extra-base knock that drove in three runs and lifted the Mudcats (2-0) to a 4-2 lead midway through Saturday’s series-clinching victory. Eduardo Garcia followed with a two-run double of his own in the same frame as Carolina went up 6-2 on reliever Theo McDowell and the Wood Ducks (0-2). McDowell (0-1, 67.50) recorded just two outs in the fifth and walked three while allowing five earned runs in the loss.

Carolina also added two more runs in the sixth while going up 8-2. Much like the five-run fifth, it was Vargas who started the sixth with a single before later scoring a run. Hendry Mendez, who walked four times in the game, also scored on a wild pitch in Carolina’s two-run sixth.

The Mudcats originally trailed 2-0 early, but came back with an unearned run in the fourth before scoring seven runs over the fifth and sixth innings. The Wood Ducks scored twice on two hits in the second, but were held scoreless, and to just three other hits the rest of the way. Both runs were driven in by catcher Efrenyer Narvaez and his two-run triple in the second.

Jordan allowed those two early runs, but also struck out seven over three innings in his first start as a Mudcat. Karlos Morales followed in relief and struck out the side in the fourth. Rodriguez (1-0, 0.00) then pitched the next three frames and earned the win in his professional debut after striking three over three scoreless. Junior Montero struck out two, but also walked two while recording just two outs, and leaving with the bases loaded in the seventh. Trevor Tietz entered in place of Montero and managed to leave the bases loaded to end the late Down East rally. Brandon Ramey finished the game with a scoreless ninth.

Jordan, Morales, Rodriguez, Montero, Tietz and Ramey combined for 17 strikeouts against five walks in the Saturday night home win.

TOP PERFORMERS – BATTERS:
Bello, RF (Carolina): 3-for-4, 2 R, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 RBI
Vargas, 3B (Carolina): 3-for-5, 2 R
Garcia, E, SS (Carolina): 2-for-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI
Chirinos, 1B (Carolina): 1-for-4, 1 R
Narvaez, C (Down East): 2-for-4, 1 3B, 2 RBI
Ortiz, RF (Down East): 1-for-3, 0 R, 1 2B
Galan, LF (Down East): 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 2B

The two teams wrap up their series Sunday at 1 p.m.