Jakson Reetz homers twice, drives in five, to key Potomac Nationals win
In game one of the second half of the 2019 Carolina League season, the Potomac Nationals (31-37, 1-0) overwhelmed the Carolina Mudcats (39-31, 0-1) 15-2 on Thursday night. Carolina struck first but went just 1-16 with RISP, while Potomac answered the Mudcats’ single run in the third inning with a seven-run bottom of the third frame in rout to the blowout victory.
RHP Kyle Johnston (W, 7-7) opened up the second half on the mound for Potomac, and though he gave up four leadoff doubles, the right-handed starter kept all four on the base paths. The lone run against Johnston came after a throwing error by 2B Cole Freeman, which began the third frame. In the frame, the Mudcats loaded the bases with no outs but managed just the one run on a sacrifice fly from CF Tristen Lutz. The Mudcats also loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning against LHP Carson Teel and managed just one run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield.
After just one inning from RHP Braden Webb (ND), who departed with an apparent injury, the Mudcats turned the game over to the bullpen. Four Carolina pitchers combined for the final eight innings, and all four were charged with at least one earned run.
Potomac sent 10 men to the plate in the seven-run third inning against LHP Cody Beckman (L, 2-3). The P-Nats tied the game on an RBI single from CF Gage Canning, while two runs scored on a throwing error from Beckman on a sacrifice bunt attempt from Freeman. Five batters later, C Jakson Reetz ended Beckman’s night with a two-out, three-run home run, the first of his two home runs on the night. Potomac led 7-1 after three innings.
The P-Nats scored in the fifth inning against RHP J.T. Hintzen on a solo home run from RF Telmito Agustin, while the right-handed reliever couldn’t get an out in the sixth inning. Four straight hitters reached in the frame against Hintzen before the Mudcats went back to the bullpen. With one run already home in the inning, RHP Phil Bickford allowed three inherited runners to score, as LF Nick Banks tallied an RBI single, a run scored on a wild pitch, and a run scored on an RBI groundout from DH Aldrem Corredor. After six frames, Potomac led 12-2.
Carolina’s bullpen failed to work a scoreless seventh or eighth frame. Bickford surrendered two runs in the seventh inning, one on a solo home run from Reetz and the other on an RBI single from Freeman. RHP Michael Peterson issued a leadoff walk to Corredor in the eighth inning and eventually saw Corredor cross the plate on a two-out RBI triple from Reetz. The Potomac All-Star catcher finished the night 3-5 with two home runs, a triple, and five RBIs.
After six strong innings from Johnston, his second consecutive quality start, LHP Carson Teel allowed one run on two hits over two innings while RHP Jhonatan German worked a scoreless ninth frame.
With the win in hand, Potomac will turn to LHP Nick Raquet (5-6, 4.97) on Friday night for game two of the series. Raquet had spun consecutive quality starts before he allowed four runs over four innings in a loss in his last outing, his final start of the first half. For the Mudcats, LHP Aaron Ashby (0-0, 0.00) is scheduled for his second career Carolina League start. In his Mudcats debut on 6/13, Ashby allowed just one hit over seven innings in an eventual Carolina walk-off win.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium 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.