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Johnston’s gem earns P-Nats series split

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (11-17) got a brilliant outing from RHP Kyle Johnston on Thursday night, helping defeat the Winston-Salem Dash (15-13) by a score of 4-1.

On the heels of an historic offensive performance on Wednesday, Potomac gave their ace an early lead to win their second consecutive ballgame and end the road trip with a 3-4 record.

Two pitches into the game, 2B Osvaldo Abreu put Potomac ahead with his first home run of the year. A walk and two singles followed, but Dash starter LHP John Parke (L, 1-2) coaxed the first of five Winston-Salem double plays to escape the jam.

SS David Masters continued his dominance over the Dash this season, hitting his seventh home run of the season to the opposite field in right to put the P-Nats ahead 2-0 in the second. It was the second home run in consecutive days for Masters, who is now the active Carolina League leader in the category, and sixth against the Dash already this season.

In the fourth inning, Potomac extended the lead to 3-0 without the benefit of a hit. C Jakson Reetz and Masters drew walks ahead of 3B Anderson Franco, who hit a ground ball to second base. In an attempt to turn yet another double play, Dash 2B Nick Madrigal’s throw sailed high to first and allowed Reetz to score from second base.

LF Telmito Agustin catalyzed a run in the fifth, stealing second base after the third of his four hits on the night. 1B KJ Harrison drove him in from second on an infield single to first base when a close play at first distracted attention to Potomac’s lead baserunner. Parke got out of the fifth inning with another double play, and completed 7.0 innings in a losing effort.

Staked to a lead before he threw a pitch, Johnston (W, 2-4) was brilliant in his finest start of the season. Potomac’s Opening Night starter scattered five hits and three walks over 6.0 innings, fanning three batters to beat the Dash for the second time this year.

RHP Frankie Bartow (S, 2) entered for RHP Jeremy McKinney in the seventh, inheriting two runners with no outs in a save situation. Bartow walked a pair and let one run in, but came back out and pitched a quiet ninth to shut the door.

The P-Nats are done with their road trip, but continue their stretch of games against Winston-Salem on Friday as they return home for a brief three-game homestand against the Dash. LHP Grant Borne faces off against RHP Blake Battenfield in the opener. The Potomac Broadcast will get underway at 6:50 p.m. with the P-Nats Leadoff Show before a scheduled 7:05 first pitch from Northwest Federal Field. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at or on the TuneIn Radio App.