Johnston’s brilliant effort stifles Woodpeckers in 9-1 P-Nats win
The Potomac Nationals (11-12, 41-49) got another dominant start from their ace RHP Kyle Johnston and continued to play their best baseball against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (11-12, 42-50) with an 8-1 win on Saturday night.
Johnston (W, 9-8) moved into a tie for the league lead in wins and fanned six over 7.0 innings to take over first place on the strikeouts leaderboard. It was Potomac’s eighth win in 11 games against the Woodpeckers, and fourth in a row dating back to the middle of June.
Potomac jumped out to an early 1-0 lead off RHP JP France (L, 3-6) in the first inning when CF Gage Canning drew a leadoff walk and scored on 1B Aldrem Corredor’s RBI single. It would be the first of two runs batted in for Corredor, who ended the night atop the league leaderboard in the category with 67.
In the third, DH Cole Freeman and Corredor hit back-to-back RBI singles off France to stretch the lead to 3-0. Freeman went 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .314, second-best in the league.
3B Enmanuel Valdez led off the Fayetteville third with a double off Johnston, and scored on 1B Scott Schreiber’s RBI groundout. Johnston would allow only three hits and two walks on the night, turning in his 11th quality start of the season.
The P-Nats broke it open in the fourth, scoring three runs to put the game out of reach. SS Gilbert Lara connected for a solo homer to lead things off, his first in a P-Nats uniform. Lara added a pair of singles in a 3-for-5 night, giving him three consecutive three-hit games. Later in the inning, 2B Osvaldo Abreu and Canning each hit RBI singles to extend the lead to 6-1.
LF Jack Sundberg started the fifth with a single off RHP Humberto Castellanos, and navigated his way to third on productive outs before 3B Omar Meregildo brought him home with a two-out single. RHP Luis Garcia took over in the sixth for the Woodpeckers, quieting the Potomac offense until the ninth when Freeman singled and scored on a double play.
Johnston departed after seven innings and a career-high 102 pitches, giving way to RHP Frankie Bartow. The reliever got the final six outs, allowing only an infield single before buttoning things up.
The P-Nats continue their series against the Woodpeckers on Sunday night as LHP Nick Raquet faces off against RHP Brett Conine in game two of three. First pitch from Segra Stadium is set for 6:00 pm, with the P-Nats Leadoff Show starting at 5:45 on potomacnationals.com or the TuneIn Radio App.