Bullpen falters as Potomac Nationals fall, 7-4
For the second time in less than a week, the Potomac Nationals (7-6) fell victim to a late rally by the opposition, as the Salem Red Sox (8-5) plated the final seven runs of the game on Tuesday night in a 7-4 Red Sox victory. Potomac took a 4-0 advantage into the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Red Sox scored three runs in the home half of the sixth inning, and then took the lead with a four-run eighth inning. After five scoreless innings from RHP Joan Baez (ND), the Potomac bullpen trio of RHP Mariano Rivera III, LHP Hayden Howard, and LHP Jordan Mills, allowed seven runs over just three innings.
The two clubs traded zeroes through the first four innings, as Baez didn’t allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth, while Salem RHP Jake Thompson (ND) worked around at least one hit in each of the first four frames. In the top of the fifth, SS Carter Kieboom singled with one out, while 1B Austin Davidson connected on his first home run of the season. Davidson’s third hit of the night made it 2-0 Potomac.
One inning later, the Potomac offense was back at it, this time against RHP Joan Martinez. RF Rhett Wiseman and DH Jack Sundberg connected on back-to-back doubles, which made it 3-0 Potomac. 2B Edwin Lora followed with an RBI single, as the P-Nats led 4-0 after 5.5 innings
Rivera entered for Baez to begin the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Red Sox jumped on him almost immediately. SS Santiago Espinal tripled with one out, and then scored on a triple by 2B Brett Netzer. After Rivera struck out 3B Bobby Dalbec, 1B Jerry Downs pulled the Red Sox within two runs with an RBI single. RF Tyler Hill followed with an RBI base hit, which made it 4-3 and knocked Rivera out of the game. Howard got the final out of the inning, and then worked a perfect seventh frame.
Howard got just one out in the eighth inning, as three of the four batters that he faced reached base successfully. Espinal led off with a single, and he moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Netzer. The P-Nats intentionally walked Dalbec, but Downs followed up with a game-tying RBI single. Potomac went back to the bullpen, as Mills entered the game, but the lefty surrendered a go-ahead two-run triple to Hill. After a groundout, Mills walked three straight, which plated a run, and made it 7-4, the eventual final. Salem sent 10 men to the plate in the four-run frame.
Potomac got a leadoff single from LF Telmito Agustin in the ninth inning, but RHP Daniel Gonzalez (W, 1-0) retired the next three hitters in order and secured Salem’s victory.
The teams will meet in the rubber match of the series Wednesday morning at 11:00am. RHP Tyler Mapes (1-0, 0.90) is set to start for Potomac. Mapes has gone five innings in each of his first two starts this season, and picked up a victory last time out. For the Red Sox, LHP Darwinzon Hernandez (1-0, 0.87) is set to take the mound. Hernandez has 12 strikeouts and has allowed just four hits over 10.1 innings this season.
First pitch on Wednesday is set for 11:00am. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 10:45am with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Sponsorship opportunities for the P-Nats’ 2018 season and beyond are available, as well as all-inclusive corporate picnic outings to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. 2018 Potomac Nationals season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2018 season tickets, mini plans, group outings, picnic packages, fundraisers, and all things Red, White, and Blue, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com, follow the P-Nats on Facebook (@PotomacNationals), Twitter (@PNats42), and Instagram (@pnats42), or call the Potomac Nationals’ Extreme Custom Collision Ticket Office at 703-590-2311.