Big innings propel P-Nats past Blue Rocks

The Potomac Nationals (41-53) used two three-run frames to defeat the Wilmington Blue Rocks (53-43) 7-3 in the final game of a three-game series on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium. The P-Nats scored three runs in the first and eighth innings and used two home runs to defeat the Blue Rocks. C Taylor Gushue and 3B David Masters each homered in the four-run victory.

p-natsOne game after allowing four first inning runs to Wilmington, Potomac put up three runs in the top of the first inning against RHP Scott Blewett (L, 5-7). The P-Nats smacked four consecutive base hits, including two for extra bases to open up the ball game. CF Victor Robles started it all with a lead off triple. Then, DH Austin Davidson doubled to left-center to plate the first run. Two batters later, Gushue singled in his first run of the game. Masters capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to right.

Wilmington got on the board against RHP Luis Reyes (W, 6-10) in the bottom of the second inning. In just his fifth game with the Blue Rocks, LF Jonathan McCray launched his first career Carolina League home run over the right-field wall. The solo shot cut the P-Nats lead to 3-1 after two innings of play.

Potomac’s biggest power threat this season answered the McCray homer with a solo bomb of his own in the top of the third inning. Gushue garnered his team-leading 15th home run of the season with a shot just inside the right-field foul pole. Gushue’s two RBIs on Tuesday now puts his Carolina League-leading total at 60 runs batted in this season. The third inning home run snapped a streak of six games without a home run for Potomac, the longest homer drought as a team of the season.

The Blue Rocks cut the P-Nats lead down to two again in the bottom of the sixth inning. 3B Wander Franco and 1B Roman Collins began the inning with singles to put runners on first and third with no outs. With C Chase Vallot at the plate, Reyes allowed the second Wilmington run to score on a wild pitch.

Reyes would not record an out in the sixth inning and would leave the game with the tying runs on base and no outs in the frame. However, RHP Ronald Pena kept Reyes in line for the win retiring the first two men in the inning on two pitches and finishing the frame with a strike out of Burt. Pena’s performance preserved a 4-2 Potomac lead after six.

The P-Nats put up three runs in a frame for the second time in the game to break the game open in the top of the eighth. With one out, Masters crushed his sixth home run of the season against RHP Walker Sheller. A costly fielding error with two outs and a wild pitch allowed two more Potomac runs to score in the inning. The Red, White & Blue opened up a five-run lead heading into the bottom of the frame.

A Vallot sacrifice fly pulled the Blue Rocks within four. However, the P-Nats bullpen finished off the four-run victory. Pena, RHP Kyle Schepel and RHP Gilberto Mendez combined to get the final 12 outs of the game and seal the 41st Potomac victory of the season.

Three Nationals recorded a multi-hit game in the 7-3 triumph as Potomac broke out for 12 hits on Tuesday night. The P-Nats have only registered double-digit hits four times through 15 July games. The Red, White & Blue have hit just .222 in the month of July.

After an off day on Wednesday, the P-Nats return home on Thursday to face off against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians). Potomac throws LHP Grant Borne (4-4, 2.42) in the opener of the four-game series from Pfitzner Stadium. Lynchburg hands the ball to RHP Aaron Civale (5-2, 2.63) on Thursday night.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Coverage begins at 6:50 pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. The broadcast can be streamed live on potomacnationals.com or by using the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.

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