Winston-Salem powers over P-Nats 9-2

The Winston-Salem Dash (20-20, 44-66) scored in six of their eight offensive innings, as the Potomac Nationals (16-23, 49-60) dropped the series opener 9-2 on Thursday night. The Dash tallied four extra-base hits over the first four innings, and had three two-out RBI hits in the victory.

In his Carolina League debut, RHP Sterling Sharp (L, 0-1) never gave up a big inning, but saw the Dash consistently chip away. Winston-Salem plated two runs in the first inning, a run in the second, two more in the third, a single run in the fourth, and one in the fifth inning against the right-handed starter, before he finally posted a zero in the sixth inning, his final frame of the night.

The Dash took a lead they never relinquished just three batters into the game. After a one-out single by RF Joel Booker, DH Zack Collins made it 1-0 Winston-Salem with an RBI double. 3B Matt Rose followed with an RBI double, as it was 2-0 after one inning.

In the second frame, Winston-Salem had the first of its three two-out rallies. CF Luis Basabe walked, 2B Bryant Flete singled, and Booker had an RBI hit, all with two outs. An inning later, Collins drew a leadoff walk, and 3B Brady Conlan, who had replaced Rose the prior frame due to an injury, launched a two-run home run, which put the Dash on top 5-0. Sharp gave up a run in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI double by Conlan, and his final run of the night on a double play in the fifth. Sharpe gave up seven runs, six earned, over six innings in his first start at the Advanced-A level.

Potomac didn’t muster many chances offensively in the loss, and failed to cash in on most of the chances the club did have. The P-Nats left men at second and third base in the third inning, men at the corners in the fourth frame, and men at second and third in the fifth.

After three scoreless innings from RHP Kelvis Valerio (ND), RHP Mike Morrison (W, 2-2) allowed three straight one-out singles in the fourth inning. 1B Ian Sagdal3B David Masters, and RF Rhett Wiseman each connected with a base hit, as Wiseman’s RBI single got Potomac on the board. The P-Nats threatened to get back into the game in the top of the fifth inning, down 6-1, as they put men at second and third base with nobody out, but Morrison retired the heart of the Potomac order and kept the Dash’ significant lead.

Sharp departed for RHP Ronald Pena to begin the seventh inning, and the Dash effectively put the game away with two runs in the frame. 1B Brandon Dulin drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on a two-out single from Basabe. Flete appeared to ground out to end the inning, but his ground ball to first base hit the first base bag and popped up over the head of Sagdal, which allowed SS Yeyson Yrizarri to score, and make 9-1.

The P-Nats plated the final run of the game in the eighth inning, as C Taylor Gushue led off the frame with a solo home run off of LHP Andre Wheeler. LHP Louie Lechich relieved Wheeler with one out in the eighth inning and retired the final five men of the night.

In the loss, CF Daniel Johnson extended his hit streak to eight games with a three-hit night, while LF Jack Sundberg saw his seven-game hit streak end. Potomac went just 1-8 with RISP and left nine men on base.

With the first matchup of the season between the two teams finally in the books, Potomac will turn to RHP Joan Baez (1-7, 5.09) on Friday night in an attempt to level the series. In his return from the GCL, Baez walked seven batters last time out in a loss to Myrtle Beach. For the Dash, LHP Bernardo Flores (0-3, 5.53) will search for his first win in his last six starts. The left-handed starter has allowed no more than three earned runs in any of his last four starts.

First pitch on Friday night is set for 7:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at or on the TuneIn Radio App.