Five-run first flusters P-Nats in finale

After taking the first two games, the Potomac Nationals (43-57) dropped the final game of a three-game series with the Down East Wood Ducks (39-63), 6-2, on Wednesdayafternoon at Grainger Stadium. The Wood Ducks plated five in the first inning on seven hits. RF Dale Carey hit his third home run of the season while RHP Jorge Pantoja pitched 3.2 innings of scoreless relief in the four-run loss.

p-natsThe Wood Ducks salvaged the final game of the series thanks in large part to a big first inning. 3B Luis La O began the game with a single to left field and made it all the way to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch. RF Preston Scott drove him in on a RBI ground out to second. That is when the hit parade began as Down East rattled off six consecutive hits against RHP Austen Williams (L, 1-3). 1B Yanio Perez, LF Josh Altmann, 2B Evan Van Hoosier and C Chuck Moorman each registered RBIs in the inning to put the DEWDs on top 5-0 after one.

In the top of the second, Carey teed off for the third time this season to plate the first Potomac run. According to StatCast, the left-fielder’s home run went 403 feet over the left-center field wall. The two-out solo blast cut the P-Nats deficit to 5-1.

Down East got to Williams one more time in the bottom of the fifth. The Wood Ducks got three consecutive base hits with one out to plate their sixth run of the game. Moorman’s second RBI single with runners on the corners increased the Down East lead to 6-1.

Pantoja entered the game with two on and one out in the bottom of the fifth and escaped without allowing a run. He got CF Ledarious Clark to pop out to shortstop and La O to fly out to right. The right-hander hurled 3.2 scoreless innings against the Wood Ducks on Wednesday. In the season series against Down East, Pantoja did not allow a run in 6.2 innings pitched.

Potomac plated the final run of the game off of an 1B Ian Sagdal sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth. 2B Austin Davidson walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch from LHP Wes Benjamin (W, 7-6). Two batters later, with Davidson on third, Sagdal sent a high fly to center to bring Potomac back within four at 6-2.

The P-Nats would not get any closer. Benjamin finished six strong innings allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out three. Two Down East relievers pitched three scoreless frames to finish off Potomac. RHP Scott Williams struck out four over the final two innings on Wednesday.

With two wins in three games the P-Nats took the regular season series against the Wood Ducks 9-4 in Down East’s inaugural season. Potomac finished 4-2 at Grainger Stadium and held a team ERA of 2.31 in 113 innings pitched.

Potomac returns home for the first game of a seven-game home series against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs) and the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians). The home stand begins Thursday night at 7:05 pm against the Pelicans. LHP Taylor Guilbeau (2-2, 4.21) throws for the P-Nats against RHP Michael Ruxer (3-2, 1.86) for the Pelicans.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm at Pfitzner Stadium. Coverage begins at 6:50 pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. The broadcast will be streamed live online at potomacnationals.com or through the TuneIn Radio or MiLB First Pitch apps.

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