Eight-run frame highlights P-Nats win
The Potomac Nationals (25-18) earned a series win with an eight-run frame in a 10-7 victory Thursday night over the Wilmington Blue Rocks (18-28). Wilmington took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, but Potomac sent 12 men to the plate and scored eight runs in home half of the inning, which proved to be enough for the win.
The Blue Rocks got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third inning against LHP Matthew Crownover (W, 2-4). 2B Oliver Nunez hit a solo home run, his first home run of the season, while Wilmington made it 2-0 on 3B Gabriel Cancel’s RBI double.
Wilmington added a run against Crownover in each of the next two innings. An infield single, stolen base, and sacrifice fly led to a run in the fourth inning, while an error by 2B Edwin Lora led to Wilmington’s fourth run of the night. It was 4-0 Wilmington halfway through the series finale.
RHP Gerson Garabito (L, 1-4) allowed just one hit over the first four frames, all scoreless, but things fell apart in the fifth inning. In the frame, Potomac sent 12 men to the plate and scored eight runs, all earned, off of Garabito. An RBI double from Lora got Potomac on the board, while a sacrifice fly from SS Carter Kieboom pulled Potomac within two runs. DH Alec Keller made it a one-run game with an RBI single, while 1B Jake Noll gave Potomac the lead for good with a two-run base hit. RF Rhett Wiseman followed with an RBI double, while C Tres Barrera ended Garabito’s night with a two-run home run. Barrera’s second home run of the year capped off the eight-run frame, as the P-Nats took an 8-4 lead into the sixth inning.
The visitors got back into the game with three runs against the combination of Crownover and LHP Ben Braymer in the following inning. Crownover departed with two runners on base and only one out, while SS Angelo Castellano greeted Braymer with a two-run double. Castellano then scored on groundout from LF D.J. Burt. Potomac led 8-7 after 5.5 frames. Crownover allowed six runs, five earned, over 5.1 innings, as he picked up his first win in his last seven starts.
Both bullpens kept the opposition off the scoreboard until the eighth inning, when Potomac plated two insurance runs against RHP Julio Pinto. Lora walked with two outs, while CF Blake Perkins picked up a single. Perkins then stole second base, and both runners scored on a two-out single to centerfield from Keller. Keller’s second and third RBIs of the game made it 10-7 Potomac, the eventual final.
After 2.2 innings from Braymer, LHP Jordan Mills (SV, 5) entered for the ninth inning. The left-handed reliever worked a perfect frame, as he tallied two strikeouts and secured the win for Potomac, and thus the 3-1 series victory.
With Potomac’s lead in the Northern Division now 2.5 games over the Lynchburg Hillcats, and 3.5 games over the Salem Red Sox, the club will face off with the Winston Salem Dash (25-22) for the first time in 2018. The teams will meet in a four-game series at Northwest Federal Field.
In the opener of the series on Friday night, RHP Tyler Mapes (3-0, 2.57) is set to make the start for Potomac. Mapes hasn’t factored in the decision in any of his last three starts, but posted a 3.46 ERA over that stretch. For the Dash, RHP Luis Martinez (2-3, 5.50) is set to make the start. Martinez has allowed at least four runs in each of his last two outings, both losses to the Down East Wood Ducks.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Friday 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.