Canning’s bunt gives P-Nats 7-6 walk-off win
In the lone series between the two teams at the top of the Northern Division Second Half playoff race, the Potomac Nationals (50-56, 20-19) tallied a 10th inning walk-off win over the division-leading Salem Red Sox (48-57). With runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, RF Gage Canning pulled a bunt to 2B Nick Lovullo, which plated 2B Austin Davidson and gave Potomac a 7-6 win.
Both teams struck for a four-run frame in the first third of the game. Potomac scored four times in the bottom of the first inning, while the Red Sox responded with four runs a half inning later against LHP Carson Teel (ND).
After RHP Thad Ward (ND) gave up four runs on three hits in the opening frame, the Salem starter didn’t allow a hit over the rest of his five-inning outing. Ward departed after just 75 pitches in line for the win.
The Red Sox took the lead on a two-out RBI single from DH Jagger Rusconi in the third inning and extended the lead on a two-out RBI double from Lovullo in the sixth frame. Teel was charged with six earned runs over 5.2 innings in a no-decision.
In relief of Ward, LHP Rio Gomez worked out of a jam in the sixth inning but failed to capitalize on two quick outs in the seventh frame. Davidson doubled on a two-strike, two-out pitch, while C Jakson Reetz followed with a two-strike home run to left field. Reetz’s home run tied the game 6-6.
RHP Jhonatan German (W, 2-2) issued a leadoff walk for Potomac in the ninth inning but retired the next three Salem hitters, while the right-handed reliever stranded the bases loaded in the 10th frame with strikeouts of Rusconi and C Charlie Madden.
In the home half of the inning, Davidson began the frame as the free baserunner at second base. Reetz hit a shallow pop up single to centerfield, which put runners on first and third base with no outs. After DH KJ Harrison flied out to shallow left field, not deep enough to plate Davidson, Canning bunted the first pitch to 2B Korby Batesole, who was playing back at second base in position for a potential double play. Batesole rushed a throw to the plate, which was far too late and off target to get Davidson, as Canning gave Potomac a walk-off single and a 7-6 win.
With the victory, the P-Nats sit just 3.5 games behind Salem for first place in the Northern Division’s second half standings.
In an effort to secure at minimum a series win, Potomac is scheduled to start RHP Kyle Johnston (9-9, 4.03) on Wednesday night. Last time out, Johnston allowed just one run over seven innings but picked up the loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. For Salem, RHP Enmanuel De Jesus (6-7, 3.99) is slated to start in a chance to move the Red Sox’s cushion back to 4.5 games. De Jesus has spun a quality start in three straight outings.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium on Wednesday night is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.