King reigns as P-Nats fall to Wood Ducks for second straight night

Potomac NationalsFor the second straight night, early offense and a dominant pitching performance led the Down East Wood Ducks (47-19) to victory over the Potomac Nationals (28-35). In Wednesday’s series and homestand finale, Down East LHP John King (W, 1-0) tossed a complete game and silenced the P-Nats offense by a score of 4-1.

Potomac RHP Malvin Peña (L, 4-4) made his first start since being named the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week, but endured a rocky first inning in what turned out to be the difference in the game. SS Yonny Hernandez and RF Leody Taveras reached on singles to begin the ballgame, and advanced a base on an errant pickoff attempt from Peña. DH Sam Huff and C Yohel Pozo hit back-to-back fielder’s choices to put Down East ahead 2-0 before CF JP Martinez hit a long two-run homer to double the lead.

King’s lone blemish came in the second, when an unearned run crossed the plate on his watch. C Alex Dunlap drove a double to the right-center gap with two outs before SS Osvaldo Abreu extended the inning by reaching on an error from Hernandez at shortstop. 3B Omar Meregildo grounded an RBI single up the middle to make the score 4-1, but CF Armond Upshaw hit a foul fly to first base as the potential tying run to end the threat.

Peña was relieved by RHP Jeremy McKinney for two innings, followed by a pair of scoreless frames from RHP Jorge Pantoja and a 1-2-3 ninth from LHP Hayden Howard. King allowed only a fourth-inning single from 1B KJ Harrison in the remainder of his outing, retiring the final 17 batters he faced to earn his first win of the year.

The P-Nats hit the road for the final series of the first half as RHP Kyle Johnston opens up a four-game set against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers on Thursday night. First pitch from Segra Stadium is set for 7:00, with the P-Nats Leadoff Show beginning at 6:45 on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. Fans can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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