Late Potomac rally not enough in 3-2 loss
A two-hour rain delay, paired with a game that took 3:01 to play, went the way of the hometown Frederick Keys (55-61, 24-23) on Saturday night. Despite a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning from 3B David Masters, the Potomac Nationals (53-64, 20-27) fell for the second straight night and for the 24th time in a one-run game this season.
The Keys got off to an early lead against RHP Kyle McGowin (L, 0-1) in his Carolina League debut. The right-handed starter, who has pitched at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season, surrendered a one-out solo home run to DH Ademar Rifaela in the bottom of the first inning. Rifaela’s league-leading 22nd home run of the season made it 1-0 Frederick.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Keys doubled up their lead. 3B Ricardo Andujar led off the inning with a single, went from first base to third base on a stolen base and throwing error by C Jakson Reetz, and scored on a one-out RBI double by C Armando Araiza. The score stayed at 2-0 Frederick until the eighth inning.
Potomac managed very little against the first four Keys pitchers of the night. RHP Matthew Grimes (ND), who dominated the Carolina League in 2016, made the start after 17 appearances for Double-A Bowie. Grimes allowed just two men to reach base over three shutout frames. LHP Alex Katz entered for Grimes to begin the fourth inning, and gave Potomac it’s best chance over the first half of the game. Katz loaded the bases on two walks and a HBP, but RHP Jay Flaa (W, 3-2) entered and escaped the jam, as he got SS Edwin Lora to fly out. Flaa allowed just one hit over 2.1 shutout innings. LHP Luis Gonzalez needed just 20 pitches over two perfect frames, as he struck out three of the six batters that he faced between the seventh and eighth innings.
Looking to keep the deficit at just two runs, LHP R.C. Orlan entered the game for the P-Nats in the bottom of the eighth inning. SS Chris Clare led off the inning with a single, and while Araiza failed to get a sacrifice bunt down, a balk from Orlan put Clare at second base. Orlan struck out the next two batters, but RF Jay Gonzalez provided what turned out to be the game-winning hit with a two-out, opposite field RBI double just over the third base bag. Gonzalez’s only hit on the night made it 3-0 Frederick.
RHP Tanner Chleborad (SV, 17) came into the game to begin the top of the ninth inning in search of Frederick’s fifth shutout of the season. 1B Ian Sagdal led off the inning with a line drive out to Clare, while Reetz drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Masters fell behind in the count 1-2, but tucked a fly ball inside the left field foul pole. Masters’ eighth home run of the season made it 3-2, but Chleborad buckled down and struck out the next two men that he faced, as he closed the door on another Frederick victory.
In the loss, the P-Nats went 0-3 with RISP and left six men on base. Despite going just 2-14 with RISP and leaving 11 men on base, the Keys were able to do just enough, as their two hits with RISP provided their second and third runs of the night. Eight different Frederick starters recorded a hit, while Potomac matched a season low with just three hits in the game.
Sunday afternoon, Potomac will look to avoid a sweep, as LHP Taylor Guilbeau (3-3, 4.59) will take the mound for The Red, White, & Blue. Guilbeau picked up a victory in his last start, as he allowed just one earned run over seven innings. For the Keys, RHP Cody Sedlock (4-4, 6.09) will look to pick up his first win since May 5th. In Sedlock’s 11 starts since his last victory, he is 0-4 with a 7.01 ERA.
First pitch of the series finale on Sunday is set for 2:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 1:45pmwith the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.
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