Defensive blunders cost P-Nats in 8-5 loss
The Potomac Nationals (63-67, 33-30) defense didn’t help the pitchers on Tuesday night, as the club tallied with three errors in an 8-5 loss to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (54-77, 33-31). The Pelicans scored twice in the second, fourth, and fifth frames in route to a 6-0 lead that held up despite a late rally from Potomac. The P-Nats put the tying runs on base in the eighth inning and left the potential tying run in the on deck circle in the final frame.
Following a nearly two-week layoff, LHP Nick Raquet (L, 10-9) worked around a runner at third base in the first inning but came a strike shy in the following frame from a scoreless first trip through the order. A one-out walk for LF Grant Fennell preceded a strikeout from SS Aramis Ademan. Raquet got ahead of RF Kevonte Mitchell 1-2 with two outs but gave up an opposite field two-run home run to the Myrtle Beach team leader in home runs. Mitchell’s 14th home run of the season gave the Pelicans a 2-0 lead.
Raquet worked a perfect third inning but fell victim to a defensive miscue in the fourth inning. C Miguel Amaya started the frame with what was initially an error on SS Gilbert Lara, but was later changed to a double. 1B Luke Reynolds followed with a single to left field, and the throw to third base from LF Jack Sundberg got past multiple Potomac fielders, which plated Amaya. Fennell followed with his second walk of the night, while SS Aramis Ademan executed a safety squeeze that scored Reynolds from third base. Myrtle Beach took a 4-0 lead into the home half of the fourth inning.
Potomac’s offense mustered very little against RHP Jeffrey Passantino (W, 3-1). Though the right-handed starter barely cracked 90 MPH on the radar gun, he held Potomac to one run on seven hits over six innings. Passantino struck out eight, didn’t walk a batter, and allowed just three men to reach scoring position in the victory.
Another error by the Potomac defense led to a pair of runs for the Pelicans in the fifth inning, as Raquet couldn’t make it through the frame. CF Delvin Zinn led off the inning with a single and immediately stole second base. 2B Carlos Sepulveda followed with a ground ball to third base, but 3B Austin Davidson’s throw to first base skipped by 1B Ryan Zimmerman, which plated Zinn. Two batters later, Amaya ended Raquet’s night with an RBI double, as RHP Angel Guillen entered for Potomac with the home team down 6-0. Guillen worked through the end of the seventh inning.
The P-Nats scored the next four runs in the contest and turned what looked like a blowout into a competitive game. Passantino departed for RHP Chad Hockin to begin the seventh frame, and Myrtle Beach’s defense faltered behind him. A leadoff error on Ademan put Lara at first base, while Sundberg and CF Cole Freeman followed with consecutive walks. With the bases loaded and no outs, Zimmerman nearly unleashed a grand slam, but Zinn tracked the ball down on the warning track in left-centerfield. Zimmerman’s sacrifice fly got Potomac within four runs. Myrtle Beach went back to the bullpen, as LHP Ryan Lawlor entered and immediately gave up an RBI single to DH Aldrem Corredor, which pulled Potomac within three runs. A wild pitch from Lawlor plated Freeman and made it a two run game. Davidson walked, which brought RF Telmito Agustin to the plate as the potential go-ahead run, but Lawlor struck out Agustin on three pitches. Myrtle Beach took a 6-4 lead into the eighth inning.
After 2.2 innings of no-hit pitching from Guillen, Potomac turned to RHP Jacob Howell for the eighth inning. The right-handed reliever struck out the first batter that he faced but issued a walk to Fennell and gave up a double to Ademan. With two men in scoring position and only one out, Mitchell ripped a single up the middle and plated two insurance runs for Myrtle Beach. Mitchell’s second two-RBI hit of the night gave the Pelicans an 8-4 lead.
RHP Manny Rodriguez pitched out of the Myrtle Beach bullpen in the ninth inning, and though he gave up an unearned run, he faced just four total hitters. The right-handed reliever got Davidson to ground into a game-ending double play, as Myrtle Beach leveled the series at one game apiece with an 8-5 victory.
In the third game of the series set for Wednesday night, RHP Francys Peguero (0-1, 1.59) is scheduled to start for Potomac. The righty has made seven appearances for the P-Nats, two as a starter. Last time out, Peguero picked up the loss, though he allowed just one earned run over 4.1 innings in a 1-0 loss to the Frederick Keys on 8/21. For Myrtle Beach, top 30 prospect LHP Brendon Little (2-1, 5.52) is set to make his fourth Carolina League start of 2019. Little has recorded quality starts in each of his last two outings, both victories, after he failed to make it through three innings in his Carolina League debut.
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.