Kieboom’s slam highlights Potomac Nationals win
Amidst frigid temperatures and intermittent snow flurries, the Potomac Nationals (7-5) took down the Salem Red Sox (7-5) 9-4 on Monday night. Potomac used a seven-run fourth inning, highlighted by a grand slam from SS Carter Kieboom, in the victory. With 4.2 innings of one-run baseball from the bullpen, the P-Nats moved into a tie for first place atop the Northern Division.
In the series opener, neither side managed much of anything over the first third of the game, as RHP Sterling Sharp (ND) and RHP Roniel Raudes (L, 1-1) both faced just two over the minimum for the P-Nats and Red Sox respectively.
Things went off the rails for Raudes in the fourth inning though, as Potomac sent 10 men to the plate in the inning against the starting righty and RHP Algenis Martinez. C Jakson Reetz made it 1-0 with an RBI single, while LF Jack Sundberg made it 2-0 Potomac with an RBI single two batters later. After Raudes walked 3B David Masters, the Red Sox went to the bullpen. 2B Bryan Mejia greeted Martinez with a sacrifice fly, while CF Blake Perkins drew a walk, which loaded the bases. On a 2-2 pitch from Martinez, Kieboom launched a ball over the left-centerfield wall for Potomac’s first grand slam of the season. The 20-year-old’s league-leading fourth home run of the season put the P-Nats on top 7-0 in the fourth frame. Kieboom is second in the Carolina League with 11 RBIs.
After 3.2 nearly perfect frames from Sharp, the right-handed starter ran into trouble. CF Chris Madera drew a two-out walk, while RF Tyler Hill and C Jhon Nunez each followed with a single. Nunez’s infield single plated Madera, as the throw from Masters to second base in an effort to get a force out went into right field. Sharp escaped further damage in the inning, as he stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout of DH Trenton Kemp.
Sharp did what he could to get himself in line for the win, but he came two outs short. The righty allowed a leadoff double to SS Santiago Espinal in the fifth, and two batters later, a two-run home run to 3B Bobby Dalbec. Dalbec’s third home run of the season knocked Sharp out of the game, as RHP Steven Fuentes (W, 1-1) entered out of the Potomac bullpen. Fuentes stranded two runners on base in the inning, and then got out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh.
Potomac added an insurance run in both the seventh and eighth frames, as 1B Jake Noll made it 8-3 with an RBI single in the seventh, and Perkins made it 9-3 with an RBI single in the eighth. The Red Sox got a run off of RHP Gabe Klobosits in the home half of the eighth inning, but never got the game-tying run to the plate after the big fourth inning for Potomac.
Salem went just 2-12 with RISP and left 12 men on base in the loss. The top seven hitters in the Potomac order all tallied at least one hit, while every starter aside from Mejia scored a run.
With an opportunity for an early lead atop the division, the P-Nats will turn to RHP Joan Baez (0-1, 10.13) on Tuesday night. Baez has not pitched more than three innings in either of his first two starts of the season. For the Red Sox, RHP Jake Thompson (0-1, 4.22) will make his third start of 2018. It will be just the ninth professional start for the 2017 4th round pick.
First pitch on Tuesday is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Sponsorship opportunities for the P-Nats’ 2018 season and beyond are available, as well as all-inclusive corporate picnic outings to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. 2018 Potomac Nationals season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2018 season tickets, mini plans, group outings, picnic packages, fundraisers, and all things Red, White, and Blue, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com, follow the P-Nats on Facebook (@PotomacNationals), Twitter (@PNats42), and Instagram (@pnats42), or call the Potomac Nationals’ Extreme Custom Collision Ticket Office at 703-590-2311.