Defense costs Potomac Nationals in 8-6 loss

Potomac NationalsThough the offense put up a valiant effort in multiple comeback attempts, the Potomac Nationals (22-15) were unable to overcome a season high six errors in an 8-6 loss to the Frederick Keys (15-22). Potomac recorded double-digit hits for the fifth consecutive game, and tallied 61 hits in the series victory over the Keys.

The two teams traded zeroes through the first three innings, though Frederick had a scoring chance in each frame against RHP Sterling Sharp (ND). Frederick left runners at second and third base in the first inning, runners on the corners in the second frame, and men at second and third base in the third inning. The Keys won despite a 4-17 game with RISP and 15 runners left on base.

Potomac struck first in the fourth frame, though saw the Keys answer right away in the home half of the inning. Against LHP Brian Gonzalez (ND), 1B Ian Sagdal led off the frame with his team-leading ninth double. Two batters later, Sagdal scored on a sacrifice fly from RF Alec Keller. In the bottom of the inning, both 2B Edwin Lora and 3B Jake Noll committed an error, as the Keys scored on a missed pop up to Noll at third base.

Both teams scored a single run in the fifth inning as well. DH Bryan Mejia led off the inning with a double, the first of his two doubles in the game. After a sacrifice bunt from LF Jack Sundberg, Lora made it 2-1 Potomac with an RBI double. A half inning later, a throwing error by Noll set up the Keys, as C Yojhan Quevedo tied the game at 2-2 with a sacrifice fly.

The Keys put the first big inning of the game together in the bottom of the sixth. With RHP Jorge Pantoja on the mound, CF Ryan McKenna singled with one out. RF Cole Billingsley followed with a two-run home run, though it came just a few pitches after Lora dropped a foul ball down the right field line. Lora was charged with his second error of the game. Two batters later, RF Jake Ring singled, and he later scored on a single by DH Wilson Garcia paired with a fielding error by Sundberg. The Keys led 5-2 after six innings.

Potomac’s top ranked scoring offense battled back and scored four straight runs between the seventh and eighth frames. In the seventh, RHP Branden Kline gave up three straight one-out singles to Sunberg, Lora, and CF Blake Perkins. Perkins’ hit made it 5-3, while SS Carter Kieboom’s RBI groundout made it 5-4. Sagdal followed with his second hit of the game, which plated Perkins, and tied the game. In the eighth, C Tres Barrera and Mejia connected with back to back doubles off of LHP Elvis Araujo (W, 2-0), and took a 6-5 lead.

The Potomac bullpen continued to run into defense struggles in the home half of the eighth inning, as a freak fielding error by Kieboom sparked a three-run frame. On Garcia’s slow ground ball to the right side of the infield into the shift, Kieboom and Lora collided, which was charged as the sixth Potomac error in the game. 1B Collin Woody doubled, as the Keys had men at second and third base with one out. With the infield in, RHP Gabe Klobosits (L, 1-1) retired Quevedo on a groundout to Kieboom, but a wild pitch tied the game. Klobosits walked SS Chris Clare, which ended his outing. LHP Taylor Guilbeau entered from the Potomac bullpen, and gave up a go-ahead RBI single to 3B Alejandro Juvier. McKenna built the Frederick lead to 8-6 with an RBI double.

The P-Nats threatened in the ninth inning against RHP Steven Klimek (SV, 1). Kieboom doubled with one out, while Sagdal followed with a walk. Klimek escaped the jam, as he got 3B Jake Noll to ground into a game-ending double play, as the Keys picked up the 8-6 victory.

Off of a 5-2 road trip, Potomac will have Monday off, and then begin a brief three-game homestand on Tuesday night vs. the Salem Red Sox. Salem will enter the series off of eight consecutive losses, while Potomac will begin the series with a 2.5 game lead over the Lynchburg Hillcats in the Northern Division standings.

First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Tuesday night is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.