Eight-run first inning highlights Potomac 12-5 win
In a frame that took more than 30 minutes to play, the Potomac Nationals (36-41, 3-4) sent 12 men to the plate and scored eight times in the top of the first inning on Wednesday night. While the sides played nearly level baseball for the rest of the game, the eight-run frame was more than enough, as Potomac emerged with a 12-5 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (45-31, 2-4). Eight runs in a single inning is the most that the P-Nats have scored in a single frame in 2017.
In the 12-batter top of the first inning, the P-Nats tallied five hits, drew one walk, had one hit batsmen, and saw the Myrtle Beach defense commit three errors. The P-Nats knocked RHP Thomas Hatch (L, 3-7) out of the game after just two outs. Hatch entered the game with a 0.72 ERA in his past six starts. Hatch gave up eight runs, but only two earned.
For Potomac in the top of the first inning, C Taylor Gushue made it 1-0 with an RBI single, 1B Ian Sagdal scored on a throwing error by 3B Jesse Hodges, 3B David Masters made it 4-0 with a two-run single, while a run scored on an error by RF Robert Garcia. With two outs and already ahead 5-0, 2B Bryan Mejia hit a two-run home run to right field. In his second trip to the plate in the frame, Robles drew his league leading 16th HBP, which knocked Hatch out of the game. RHP Casey Bloomquist entered, and in a span of five pitches, unleased two wild pitches, the second of which plated Robles from second base. The P-Nats led by eight runs before LHP Hector Silvestre (W, 7-2) threw his first pitch of the night.
Though Silvestre wasn’t as sharp as he had been in past starts, the left-handed starter allowed just three runs, two earned, over five innings. 2B Trent Giambrone hit a solo home run in the third inning, while after an error by SS Edwin Lora, DH Eloy Jimenez plated the second run of the frame with a double. In the fifth inning, Silvestre issued two straight two-out walks to Jimenez and Hodges, which allowed 1B Tyler Alamo to plate a run with a single. Alamo has tallied multiple hits in each of the three games thus far in the series.
The P-Nats took their largest lead of the night with three runs in the fourth inning against Bloomquist, and once again, Mejia that plated multiple runs. The Potomac second baseman tallied his third and fourth RBIs of the night with a two-out single, and Lora then scored on a wild pitch. The P-Nats led 12-2 after 3.5 innings.
Despite little more offensively after four trips to the plate for Potomac, the lead was far too great for Myrtle Beach to overcome. The Pelicans did avoid a double-digit run loss with a single run in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, but never came closer than seven runs. The final two runs of the night by the Pelicans came against RHP Jorge Pantoja. Garcia reached on a two-out error by 1B Matt Page, and scored two batters later on SS Zack Short’s first RBI of the season. In the seventh frame, LF Eddy Martinez capped the scoring with an RBI groundout. RHP Kyle Schepel entered for Pantoja to start the eighth inning and struck out four batters over two perfect frames.
The series finale between the P-Nats and Pelicans is set for Thursday night. LHP Taylor Guilbeau (1-1, 4.54) is set to start for Potomac in search of the series victory. Guilbeau tossed a season high six innings in his last start. For the Pelicans, LHP Ryan Kellog (3-4, 4.66) will look to bounce back from his last start, when he gave up six runs and recorded just six outs.
First pitch at TicketReturn.com Field is set for 7:05pm Thursday evening. 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.