Potomac Nationals LF Mike McQuillan slugged his first home run of the season, a three-run shot through a swift breeze at Pelicans Ballpark in the 6th inning over the left field wall on Wednesday night which served as the difference maker in the P-Nats’ 7-4 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (48-27, 4-3).
The Potomac Nationals (43-32, 5-1) are now eleven games over the .500 mark on the 2014 season and own a (19-18) record in their road contests this season.
Additionally, Potomac has now played to a (6-6) record against the Pelicans on the current campaign.
Nationals starting tosser, RHP Blake Schwartz (1-0) got in the win column after gunning through 5.0 frames in which he allowed just two base hits, both to Myrtle Beach C Jorge Alfaro. Schwartz did not surrender a walk and struck out a pair.
Alfaro lined a moon shot over the grandstands in left field as the leadoff batter in the bottom of the 1st inning to put the Pelicans on top 1-0.
The Nationals maneuvered two runs in the 3rd inning to take a 2-1 edge as RF Justin Miller cranked a double into the left field corner off the eventual losing pitcher, RHP Sam Wolff (7-4) before 1B Estarlin Martinez singled into the right-center field gap. Both Miller and Martinez scored on a wild pitch from Wolff and a dropped catch error committed by Pelicans 1B Kevin Torres on a ball grounded by 2B Tony Renda, respectively.
Wolff went 6.0 stanzas and allowed five earned runs, which tied his season-high, while giving up seven base hits, walking one, and fanning six batters.
With the P-Nats up 5-1, both clubs scored one run in the 7th inning; the Nationals via an RBI double lashed to the alleyway in left-center by Renda on an offering from RHP Cody Buckel to plate the leadoff walk issued to C Pedro Severino, and the Pelicans on a run-scoring single laced into right field by Torres. This base knock actually ended the inning as Myrtle Beach LF David Lyon attempted to take third base and was gunned out 9-3-5.
Buckel allowed one earned run in 2.0 innings on one hit and two hits while striking out a trio in relief of Wolff.
With the extra-base hit, Renda extended his hitting streak to 10 games which ties the season-high mark set by IF Adrian Sanchez, now with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
Down 6-2, Myrtle Beach threw two runs on the scoreboard in the 8th against Potomac RHP Ian Dickson. The Pelicans loaded the bases as Alfaro was hit by a pitch on the lead shoulder, DH Hanser Alberto chopped an infield single to the six hole, and RF Preston Beck walked.
Dickson pitched 2.1 innings and had three earned runs charged on three hits and three walks.
Nationals RHP Richie Mirowski was dominant to close the door in the 8th despite balking with the bases loaded to bring home Alfaro, and unleashing a wild offering that summoned in Alberto. As the setup man in a pressure situation, Mirowski allowed the aforementioned pair of inherited baserunners to score, but got 3B Nick Vickerson swinging and also struck out CF Nick Williams on a 3-2 fastball under his hands to send the Nationals to the 9th with a 6-4 lead.
Renda’s second run-scoring, two-bagger of the night ripped over the head of Lyon in left field put Potomac up 7-4, which was the final score. The leadoff base-on-balls given to Martinez by Pelicans RHP Abel De Los Santos came plateward on Renda’s double.
Nationals RHP Gilberto Mendez (SV 5) inked his fifth save in his sixth save opportunity with a one-two-three last of the 9th. Mendez struck out 2B Christopher Bostick swinging after falling behind early in the count before inducing a pair of 4-3 groundouts off the sticks of Lyon and Torres to put the ribbon on the three-run victory for the Nationals.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, accessible by heading online to www.potomacnationals.com, will broadcast live coverage of Game Two in Myrtle Beach, SC on Thursday night starting with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 6:50pm before the play-by-play at 7:05pm.