Defense costs Potomac in 3-2 loss
Two errors on one play by 1B Tyler Beckwith resulted in the game-tying and go-ahead runs for the Salem Red Sox (69-58, 29-29), as the Potomac Nationals (59-67, 26-30) failed to pull even with the Red Sox in the Northern Division playoff race.
Potomac, which entered the night with the best winning percentage in the Carolina League when scoring first (.765) got on the board first against RHP Mike Shawaryn (W, 5-4). After a quick first inning, Shawaryn walked 2B Jake Noll with one out in the top of the second inning. RF Rhett Wiseman followed with a towering two-run home run over the wall in right-centerfield, which made it 2-0. Shawaryn settled in after that and allowed just three total hits over seven innings.
RHP Luis Reyes (L, 7-13) struggled to throw strikes and stay in front of hitters for most of the night, yet was charged with only one earned run over six innings. Reyes gave up just three hits and retired the final seven batters that he faced. DH Jose Sermo and 3B Jordan Betts had consecutive one-out doubles in the fourth inning, which cut Potomac’s lead to one run. After CF Tate Matheny grounded out, Reyes walked LF Victor Acosta. With two men on and two outs, C Tyler Spoon appeared to end the inning on a pop up on the infield to Beckwith, but the first baseman had the ball deflect off of his glove. As Betts tried to score from second base, Beckwith’s throw home sailed over the head of C Jakson Reetz, which not only allowed Betts to score the tying run, but also plated Acosta from first base and gave Salem a 3-2 lead.
Both bullpen pitched two shutout frames. RHP Jefry Rodriguez and LHP R.C. Orlan each worked a perfect inning for Potomac, as they combined with Reyes to retire the final 13 Salem hitters of the night. The bullpen duo of RHP Austin Glorius and RHP Adam Lau (SV, 7) allowed just one hit over two frames and secured the Salem victory.
The P-Nats got the tying run on base in each of the final three innings. Wiseman drew a leadoff walk in the seventh, advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third base on a groundout, but was stranded there as Beckwith took a called third strike to end the top of the seventh inning. LF Jack Sundberg drew a one-out walk in the eighth and stole second base, but he was left in scoring position, as Potomac went 0-4 with RISP in the game. In the ninth, SS Edwin Lora singled with two outs against Lau, but 3B Bryan Mejia grounded out to end the game.
With the loss, Potomac now sits two games back of the Red Sox for a playoff spot in the Northern Division, one game behind the Frederick Keys, and only a half-game ahead of the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
In the middle game of the set, slated for Wednesday night, RHP Austen Williams (2-3, 3.68) will make his first start of the year vs. Salem. In 2016, Williams went 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA vs. the Red Sox in two starts. For Salem, LHP Logan Boyd (3-1, 9-4) will make his second straight start vs. Potomac. Boyd was the tough luck loser in Salem’s 1-0 loss to the P-Nats on 8/17, when he gave up just one run on four hits over six innings.
First pitch on Wednesday 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.
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