Johnston’s short start leads to 7-2 P-Nats loss in series finale

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (22-32) had an opportunity to earn their first series win since early April on Saturday night, but fell 7-2 to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (20-36) in the finale of their four-game set.

RHP Kyle Johnston (L, 5-6) had a streak of five consecutive quality starts entering his outing against the Pelicans, but lasted just 1.2 innings due to pitch count considerations. The righty allowed a pair of second inning runs, and the P-Nats trailed for the remainder of the night.

Myrtle Beach got their two runs on an RBI double from 1B Grant Fennell and RBI triple from SS Yeiler Peguero. Struggling to find his command, Johnston was lifted in the middle of an at-bat to LF Kevonte Mitchell with the bases loaded and two outs. LHP Aaron Fletcher retired the slugger to escape the jam, but the P-Nats couldn’t dig out of the early hole.

2B Cole Freeman got a run back for Potomac in the third with his second home run of the year, but the Pelicans extended the lead back to two in the bottom of the inning with a run-scoring double play off the bat of Peguero.

That would be more than enough for RHP Paul Richan (W, 6-2), who pitched 5.1 innings of two-run ball. He left in the sixth with a 6-1 lead, but RF Gage Canning brought home Potomac’s last run with an RBI fielder’s choice off RHP Manny Rodriguez.

RHP Frankie Bartow allowed one run on an RBI groundout in 2.0 innings of relief work for Potomac, and RHP Jorge Pantoja closed the bottom of the scorecard with 2.0 frames of hitless relief. Myrtle Beach turned to RHP Ben Hecht for the final six outs, and the closer fanned four while facing the minimum to seal the win.

The P-Nats continue their road trip as they open up a three-game series against the Salem Red Sox on Sunday afternoon. LHP Carson Teel faces off against a Red Sox pitcher to be determined in the opener. First pitch at Haley Toyota Field is set for 4:05 pm, with the Potomac broadcast starting at 3:50 with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen live at or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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