Johnston’s career night for P-Nats shuts down Blue Rocks in Wilmington
RHP Kyle Johnston (W, 3-4) was brilliant for his second consecutive start, and the Potomac Nationals (13-20) beat the first-place Wilmington Blue Rocks (19-15) to even up their road trip at two games apiece on Friday night.
Johnston, coming off a scoreless six-inning performance his last time out, encountered early trouble but fanned a career-high ten batters to continue his recovery from a rocky start to the year. The righty finished his outing with five hitless innings as he earned his third win of the season.
Potomac got on the board early against Wilmington RHP Jackson Kowar (L, 2-2) as DH KJ Harrison laced an RBI single in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Harrison would drive in three runs on the night in a three-hit performance.
The Blue Rocks would jump on Johnston in the bottom of the first, getting a double from RF Seuly Matias and a two-run single from 3B Dennicher Carrasco to take a brief 2-1 lead. Johnston notched a strikeout to escape further trouble, however, and didn’t allow another hit over his six-inning outing as he got into a rhythm.
The P-Nats tied the game in the second after CF Gage Canning’s leadoff double and 3B Anderson Franco’s RBI groundout, and broke the game open in a three-run fifth. Kowar allowed a single to 2B Cole Freeman, double to 1B Aldrem Corredor, and a run-scoring error off the bat of Harrison before he was lifted, and Potomac pounced on LHP Josh Mitchell with singles from C Jakson Reetz and Franco to take a 5-2 lead.
Harrison scored Freeman on a sixth-inning single to extend the lead to 6-2, and RF Nick Banks joined the party with an RBI single of his own in the seventh to bring the score to 7-2. RHP Jhonatan German pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning in his Carolina League debut, and RHP Luis Reyes got the final six outs to seal the victory.
The P-Nats look to clinch a series win against the first-place Blue Rocks on Saturday as they send LHP Grant Borne to the mound against Wilmington LHP Marcelo Martinez. First pitch from Frawley Stadium is set for 6:05 pm, with the P-Nats Leadoff Show beginning at 5:50 on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. Fans can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.