P-Nats, Wood Ducks each toss shutout in doubleheader split
With three games scheduled to start within just over 18 hours, the Potomac Nationals (6-6) and Down East Wood Ducks (7-6) played a pair of relatively quick games, each of which featured a shutout. The visiting Wood Ducks used three doubles and a home run in a span of seven hitters over the second and third innings of game one in route to a 3-0 win, while Potomac took advantage of a three-run home run from C Jake Lowery in a 6-0 game two victory.
RHP Luis Reyes (L, 1-2) entered the doubleheader with the best ERA of any starter in the Potomac rotation, and though he gave up three runs over five innings, he certainly kept Potomac in the game. The Wood Ducks scattered nine hits against the Potomac starter. LF LeDarious Clark had a one-out double in the second inning, and Down East made it 1-0 as DH Jairo Beras followed with an RBI double. Reyes got a double play and avoided further damage in the frame, though the Wood Ducks tacked on two more runs in the following inning.
2B Luis La O led off the third inning with a towering home run over the left field wall, his second home run of the season. After Reyes retired SS Josh Morgan, three straight Wood Ducks tallied hits, as CF Michael O’Neill made it 3-0 with an RBI single, which plated RF Eduard Pinto. That was enough for Down East, as LHP Joe Palumbo (ND) was brilliant before he departed with an injury.
Palumbo allowed just one hit and two total baserunners over 4.2 innings, but after his second pitch of his fifth inning plate appearance vs. LF Dale Carey, the left-handed starter immediately called for the trainers and subsequently left the game. Out of the bullpen, LHP Brady Feigl (W, 2-0) retired Carey, and then worked around three singles in the sixth frame. Potomac left the bases loaded in the sixth inning against Feigl, and then did the same thing against RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (SV, 2) in the final frame. Rodriguez hit CF Telmito Agustin with a pitch with two men on and two men out in the seventh inning, but the righty struck out 2B Bryan Mejia and secured a shutout for Down East.
The script flipped in the back half of the doubleheader, as Potomac LHP Matthew Crownover (W, 2-0) dominated in his first start of the season. After he transitioned into a bullpen role prior to the season, the lefty made the spot start and did not allow a run over five innings. Crownover gave up seven hits, but multiple men reached base in only one inning that he pitched.
In the bottom of the second inning against RHP Richelson Pena (L, 0-1), Potomac had the first two men reach base. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez singled, while RF Rhett Wiseman reached on an error by Morgan. After SS Edwin Lora flew out, Lowery hit his first home run of the season, which cleared everything in right field. Potomac led 3-0, as Pena lasted just three innings.
Potomac put the game away against RHP Jacob Shortslef, as the P-Nats scored once in the fourth and twice more in the sixth. In the fourth inning, Lora led off with a double, and then scored three batters later on an RBI single by Agustin. In the sixth inning, Lora was hit by a pitch, Carey walked, and Mejia walked. With the bases loaded and two outs, 2B Austin Davidson capped off the scoring with a two-run single. RHP Ronald Pena closed out the evening on the mound for Potomac, as the righty retired all six men that he faced.
It will be a quick turnaround for both squads, as the rubber match is set for Wednesday morning at Pfitzner Stadium. LHP Hector Silvestre (1-0, 6.30) is expected to get the start on the mound for Potomac, while RHP Pedro Payano (0-0, 2.79) is set to take the mound for the Wood Ducks. First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 10:35am on Wednesday. The Potomac broadcast gets underway with the “P-Nats Leadoff Show” at 10:20am. The broadcast can be heard on potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.