Keller’s homer not enough as P-Nats fall 4-3 to Frederick

p-natsIn their first trip to Harry Grove Stadium in 2016, the Potomac Nationals (22-17 Overall, 13-9 Road) scored first but could not push the final game-tying run across the board in a 4-3 loss to the Frederick Keys (19-22 Overall, 8-13 Home).

Hitting over .400 in May, LF Alec Keller continued his stellar month with a leadoff home run in the top of the second inning vs. RHP Lucas Long (W, 2-2). It was Keller’s first home run of the season and the first of two RBIs on the night for the former Princeton Tiger.

Despite an early lead for the fourth straight game, the Potomac pitching staff failed to hold the lead. RHP Wirkin Estevez (L, 0-3) allowed a single run in four straight innings from the second through the fifth. DH Austin Wynns tied the game with a two-out RBI single in the second inning. The Keys took the lead on SS Erick Salcedo’s first home run of the year in the third inning, while 2B Steve Wilkerson scored Frederick’s third run of the game on an RBI groundout by 1B Wynston Sawyer in the fourth, as the Keys led 3-1 after four innings.

Potomac made it a one-run game vs. Long in the top of the fifth, as RF Dale Carey led off the frame with his second of four hits on the night. After a pair of errors by the Keys, 3B Khayyan Norfork brought home Carey on a sacrifice fly to left field. That made it 3-2, but it was as close as the P-Nats could get.

The Keys answered right away in the home half of the fifth inning against Estevez. CF Josh Hart’s two-out RBI single plated Salcedo and made it 4-2 Frederick. Hart’s RBI single ended up as the game-winning hit. Estevez allowed four earned runs on seven hits over five innings. The righty struck out only one but did not walk a batter for the second time in eight starts.

The eighth inning presented Potomac’s best opportunity to tie up the game. DH Jose Marmolejos led off the frame with a walk against LHP Jeff Beliveau. C Raudy Read doubled over the head of RF Cam Kneeland, which moved Marmolejos to third base. Keller’s RBI groundout plated Marmolejos and moved Read to third base. With the tying run at third and only one out, 2B Bryan Mejia flied out to Kneeland in right field. Read attempted to tag from third base, but Kneeland threw a one-hopper to C Jonah Heim, who applied the easy tag to Read at the plate to end the frame. Potomac then got a one-out single by Carey in the ninth, but he was doubled off of first base on SS David Masters’ lineout to third base to end the game.

Long allowed just one earned run over seven innings in the victory, his second longest start of the season. Beliveau was charged with an earned run in just 0.1 innings, while RHP Jimmy Yacabonis (SV, 4) faced the minimum over 1.2 innings to close out the victory for the Keys. Potomac went just 1-10 with men in scoring position in the loss and left six men on base. Carey’s four-hit night was just the second four-hit game of the season for Potomac.

The P-Nats will look to even up the series Saturday night, as RHP Erick Fedde (2-3, 6.62) is set to take the ball for Potomac. Opposite the former first round pick, LHP John Means (4-0, 2.09) will make his second start of the year vs. the P-Nats. Means struck out a season high 10 over six two-run frames in a no-decision vs. Potomac on May 5th. First pitch is set for 6:00 at Harry Grove Stadium.

The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will carry live coverage of the game beginning with the “P-Nats Lead-Off Show” at 5:45. P-Nats Gameday Audio on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network is available at www.potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.

         
 

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