Walks prove costly as Potomac falls 6-3
In his second start of the season for the Potomac Nationals (5-4), RHP Joan Baez (L, 0-1) walked a 2017 P-Nats high seven batters in route to a 6-3 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (4-5). Of Baez’s seven walks, five came around to score, while Wilmington’s sixth run initially reached on a HBP.
Baez walked the first batter of the game, hit the third batter, and loaded the bases with a walk to RF Anderson Miller, the fourth man to bat in the first inning. DH Chase Vallot made it 1-0 Wilmington with an RBI single. LF Roman Collins then grounded into what could have been an inning-ending double play, but after a force out at second base, Potomac SS Edwin Lora threw the relay into the Potomac dugout. Two runs scored on the play, as the Blue Rocks led 3-0 after half an inning.
Wilmington tallied two more runs in the second inning, as the Blue Rocks loaded the bases with no outs against Baez. 1B Travis Maezes and C Nate Esposito each drew a walk, while SS Nicky Lopez reached on an error by 2B Bryan Mejia. 2B DJ Burt and CF Elier Hernandez each followed with a sacrifice fly, as Wilmington took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the second frame.
After the Blue Rocks added a run on another sacrifice fly in the third inning, Potomac finally got on the board against RHP A.J. Puckett (W, 1-1). Mejia led off the inning with a single, and after 1B Ian Sagdoll walked, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez drove in Mejia with an RBI single. After C Taylor Gushue walked, RF Rhett Wiseman grounded into a force out, which brought home one run, and Gutierrez crossed the plate on an error by 2B DJ Burt. Potomac cut the deficit in half in the inning, but failed to score after that. Puckett allowed three runs, two earned, over five innings in the victory.
Both bullpens worked shutout relief, as the Blue Rocks’ duo of RHP Yunior Marte and RHP Franco Terrero (SV, 1) allowed just one hit and struck out five over four shutout innings. After Baez allowed six runs, four earned, over 3.2 innings, LHP Taylor Guilbeau, RHP Ronald Pena, and RHP Mariano Rivera combined for 5.1 shutout frames.
Needing a win in the series finale to earn a series split, Potomac will turn to RHP Wirkin Estevez (0-1, 13.50). Estevez allowed seven runs on eight hits in his 2017 debut, a loss against Frederick. LHP Cristian Castillo (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the season for the Blue Rocks. Castillo allowed just one unearned run over five innings against Carolina. First pitch of the series finale is set for 1:05pm. The Potomac broadcast gets underway with the “P-Nats Leadoff Show” at 12:50pm. The broadcast can be heard on potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.