The Potomac Nationals (20-17, 10-9) were crushed by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (26-13, 11-8) by the score of 11-5 on Friday evening after being outplayed on TicketReturn.com Field inside Pelicans Ballpark.
The Pelicans lineup connected on six home run balls to yield the lopsided victory.
Potomac has now lost seven of its last nine games.
In each instance that the Nationals scored in Game One, the Pelicans scored in the bottom half of that inning.
The Nationals are now (3-5) head-to-head with the Pelicans during the 2014 season.
Pelicans 3B Joey Gallo clubbed a trio of homers in the series opening contest. The epic performance which included taters number 15, 16, and 17 on the campaign matched his season-high for dingers in one game.
Nationals RHP Ian Dickson, who did not receive a decision, went 4.0 innings and allowed four earned runs on five hits including three homers while walking none and fanning three.
The winning pitcher, Myrtle Beach LHP Andrew Faulkner (2-0) was less than solid but got enough run support to garner his second victory.
Faulkner worked 6.0 innings and surrendered four earned runs on nine hits while walking three and striking out four.
The P-Nats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning as 2B Tony Renda’s leadoff single scored on an RBI groundout to first base off the stick of LF Randolph Oduber.
The game featured see-saw activity through the first four frames as Myrtle Beach answered in the bottom of the 1st to tie the game at 1-1. Gallo was hit by an offering from Dickson and came around to score on a run-scoring double gashed to the left-center field wall by DH Royce Bolinger.
Potomac then grabbed a 2-1 lead in the 3rd via an RBI single on top of the first base line struck by 3B Khayyan Norfork that scored the double of Oduber.
The Pelicans then earned a 3-2 edge with two runs in the 3rd thanks to back-to-back solo bombs off Dickson for RF Nick Williams (fourth longball of the season) and Gallo. Williams’ ball that came off the end of his bat traveled into the seats in the left field corner and Gallo’s ball was cranked on a line over the left-center field barrier.
The Nationals then struck back to garner a 4-3 advantage with a pair of runs in the 4th inning when SS Stephen Perez lined an RBI sacrifice fly to left field before 1B Shawn Pleffner sprayed an RBI single the other way into left field.
The home club then tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the 4th as C David Lyon yanked a solo four-bagger out to right-center field for his second round-tripper of the season.
Against the losing pitcher of record, Nationals RHP Wander Suero (0-1) the Pelicans plated four, two-out RBIs in the 6th stanza to take an 8-4 lead. Suero allowed a two-run single blooped into shallow left-center field in advance of Gallo’s second deep fly clout of the game which was lofted on a high arc to the left of the batter’s eye in center field.
Perez earned a bases loaded RBI walk in the 8th to cut the Pelicans’ lead to 8-5 which served as an earned run against Pelicans RHP Cody Buckel, who walked three in a row before Perez took a 3-2 pitch out of the zone. Pleffner popped out to Myrtle Beach SS Hanser Alberto to strand the bases jacked.
Potomac RHP Robert Benincasa came on in the bottom of the 8th and on his first pitch of the appearance, Cone blasted a deep fly ball to dead center field and P-Nats CF Will Piwnica-Worms leaped into the wall and put leather on the baseball but it ricocheted off the wall and ten feet back towards the infield. Cone was sent around third base by Myrtle Beach Manager, Joe Mikulik and scored as the relay to home plate was late. Later in the frame, Gallo slugged his third homer of the night which landed a good 15 feet behind the right field wall next to the home clubhouse in right field to put the Pelicans up 11-5.
In the 9th inning, P-Nats DH Estarlin Martinez collected his first career Carolina League base hit, a line drive into right field.
Pelicans LHP Cody Ege (SV 2) earned his second save after entering to face the tying run at the plate in the 8th. Ege dealt 1.2 scoreless innings allowing just one hit while walking one and collecting one K.
A twin bill is set for Saturday evening to begin at 5:05pm after Thursday night’s game was washed out to to heavy rainfall and thunderstorms.
The Nationals will throw RHP Ronald Pena (2-1, 5.21) in Game One of the doubleheader who will oppose Myrtle Beach LHP Victor Payano (3-1, 4.50). In the nightcap, the pitching matchup will be Potomac RHP John Simms (0-1, 4.50) versus Pelicans RHP Jason Knapp (0-1, 1.29).
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, which is accessible at www.potomacnationals.com, will broadcast the P-Nats’ doubleheader on Saturday with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Broadcast coverage will begin with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 4:50pm in preparation for a5:05pm first pitch.