One pitch into his return from the disabled list, 3B Drew Ward hit one of Potomac’s longest home runs of the season. Ward’s solo home run with one out in the bottom of the second inning put the P-Nats ahead 1-0, and RHP Greg Ross (W, 2-2) tossed seven shutout innings in Potomac’s 2-0 shutout win over the Dash.
In his third start for Potomac (25-20 Overall, 11-10 Home), Ross had arguably the best start of the season for any Potomac starter. Ross retired the first seven hitters that he faced and allowed just five hits in the win. The righty struck out four and did not walk a batter. In his three starts this season, Ross is 2-0 and has not given up a run in 16.1 innings.
Opposite Ross, RHP Matt Cooper (L, 2-4) spun one of the best starts of the season for Winston-Salem (17-32 Overall, 12-13 Road). The right-handed starter struck out a career high 12, one shy of the Dash’s franchise record. Cooper threw only 89 pitches over eight innings, as he tallied the loss in the complete game effort.
Cooper’s only mistake came in the second inning. In his first game off of the disabled list, Ward launched a first-pitch fastball from Cooper and cleared all three sections of fencing in right field. Ward’s home run, the team-leading eighth of the year for Potomac, put the P-Nats ahead 1-0, which was all that the pitching staff needed.
Ross worked out of jams in the third and fourth innings. After a single by RF Louie Lechich broke of Ross’ perfect game in the third inning, Ross walked SS Cleuluis Rondon. CF Hunter Jones beat out a potential double play ball, but Ross got LF Mason Robbins to line out to SS Osvaldo Abreu. In the fourth, DH Marcus Davis and 2B Toby Thomas had back-to-back two-out hits, but Ross got C Brett Austin to take a called third strike to end the frame. Ross then got a double play to work around a single in the fifth, set down the side in order in the sixth, and got around a leadoff single by Davis in the seventh.
After going down 2-0, Cooper allowed just one man to reach base. C Matt Reistetter singled in the fifth inning and was the last Potomac player to reach base. Cooper retired the last 10 batters that came up against him, seven of them via the strikeout. Cooper’s 12 strikeouts were the most by a single player against Potomac this season. All nine P-Nats starters struck out at least once.
The Potomac bullpen continued it’s stellar work, as RHP Robert Benincasa worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and RHP Ryan Brinley (SV, 8) set down the side in order in the ninth and tallied his league-leading eighth save.
With three straight wins in hand, Potomac will turn to RHP Erick Fedde (2-3, 5.77). The Dash are set to counter with RHP Thad Lowry (3-3, 4.22). Fedde picked up the win on May 15th vs. Winston-Salem despite allowing five earned runs over five innings. The righty then went five-shutout frames in his last start. Lowry, a fifth round pick by the White Sox in 2013 has picked up the victory in his last two starts and in three of his last four. First pitch at Pfitzner Stadium is set for 6:35.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will carry live coverage of the game beginning with the “P-Nats Lead-Off Show” at 6:20. P-Nats Gameday Audio on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network is available at www.potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.
Saturday night, the first 1,500 fans to Pfitzner Stadium can get the first bobblehead of the season, as the P-Nats will be giving away a Bryce Harper National League MVP Bobblehead presented by Cowles Auto Group. Sunday is the Fourth Annual Autism Awareness Day at the ballpark, presented by Lindsay Automotive. P-Nats players and coaches will wear special Autism themed jerseys, which will be autographed and auctioned off throughout the game. Sundaywill also feature Bark in the Park day, presented by Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance.