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P-Nats, Mudcats split doubleheader

After just two outs on Friday night, the Potomac Nationals (33-36) and Carolina Mudcats (35-32) had a game suspended. The end result was nearly 16 innings of baseball at Five County Stadium Saturday night. In the resumption of the suspended matchup, the P-Nats used seven strong innings from RHP Nolan Sanburn (W, 2-1) and two home runs in route to a 5-2 victory. In game two, LHP Jordan Mills (L, 0-1) allowed four runs in the first inning, as Potomac trailed from the get go in a 6-3 loss.

p-natsFriday night’s matchup resumed Saturday an hour later than scheduled due to rain, and began with two outs in the top of the first inning. The Mudcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, as an error by 1B Matt Page led to two unearned runs against Sanburn in the second inning. With two outs and a man in scoring position, 2B Luis Aviles made it 1-0 Carolina with an RBI single. After C Cooper Hummel drew a walk, RF Carlos Belonis made it 2-0 Mudcats. That was the final time that Carolina scored, as the Mudcats had just two men reach scoring position over the final six innings.

RHP Trey Supak (L, 1-2) entered out of the bullpen for RHP Cody Ponce (ND) when the game resumed on Saturday night. After two quick innings, Supak fell victim to the long ball in the fourth frame. CF Victor Robles led off the inning with a walk, while LF Jack Sundberg reached on a bunt single. After DH Austin Davidson struck out, 3B Ian Sagdal tallied his eighth home run of the season, a towering fly ball that stayed inside the right field foul pole. Sagdal’s home run put Potomac on top 3-2 and proved to be the difference in the game.

The P-Nats added a run on a solo home run by Page in the fifth inning on a ball that struck the left field foul pole. Potomac capped off the scoring with a run in the eighth inning, as a two-out RBI double by Sagdal made it 5-2 Potomac. RHP Dakota Bacus (SV, 2) worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, and then took advantage of two nice defensive plays by the Potomac middle infielders in a scoreless ninth.

After the win secured Potomac no worse than a series split, the Mudcats got off to a hot start in game two. In his first start of the season, LHP Jordan Mills (L, 0-1) struggled to make it through the first inning. Mills walked each of the first two hitters that he faced and threw to nine batters in the frame. 3B Lucas Erceg made it 1-0 with an RBI double, SS Luis Aviles made it 2-0 with an RBI groundout, 1B Weston Wilson put the Mudcats on top 3-0 with an RBI single, while 2B Jonathan Oquendo provided when ended up as the deciding run with a two-out RBI base hit. The Mudcats led 4-0 after one inning.

Potomac got back into the game with a run in the second inning and another pair of runs in the third frame, but never got closer than two runs. 3B David Masters got the P-Nats on the scoreboard with a two-out RBI single in the second inning, Robles scored on a throwing error by C Max McDowell in the third inning, while C Taylor Gushue tallied his team leading 51st RBI on a groundout, also in the third frame. Gushue’s groundout pulled Potomac within two runs and made it 5-3 in favor of Carolina.

After four innings from RHP Scott Grist (ND), the Mudcats turned to the bullpen for the final nine outs. RHP Eric Hanhold (W, 3-2) threw two innings of shutout relief, while RHP Nate Griep (SV, 14) escaped a jam in the final inning.

Against Hanhold, the P-Nats loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth inning. Page doubled, RF Dale Carey walked, and SS Edwin Lora reached on an infield single. With a chance to give the P-Nats the lead, Masters flied out to centerfield. In the seventh inning, 2B Bryan Mejia led off with a single, while Sundberg walked with one out. With two chances as the tying run, the two top RBI men on the Potomac roster came up empty, as Sagdal struck out swinging, and Gushue flied out to right field, which ended the game.

With the doubleheader split in the books, the teams will turn to Sunday for the final game of the first half. For Potomac, RHP Luis Reyes (5-6, 4.15) is set to make his team leading 14th start. Reyes has not given up more than three earned runs in any of his last six starts. For the Mudcats, RHP Marcos Diplan (4-3, 5.50) will look to bounce back from one of his worst outings of the season. In his last start, Diplan allowed six runs over 5.2 innings in a loss to the Salem Red Sox.

First pitch on Sunday afternoon is set for 2:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 1:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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