The Potomac Nationals (19-13, 10-7) edged the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (21-13, 14-5) in a seesaw contest on Saturday night by the final score of 6-5 in an entertaining nail-biter of a Game Three at Pfitzner Stadium amidst a terrific team effort.
The Nationals avoided their first four-game losing streak of the season and improve to (6-3) in their one-run affairs in 2014.
The P-Nats are down two games to one in the four-game series and look to salvage the set tomorrow in the finale.
Potomac RHP Ian Dickson, who didn’t receive a decision, allowed three runs in the 1st inning but pitched 5.0 scoreless innings after the opening frame.
Dickson delivered the third quality start for the P-Nats’ 2014 pitching staff after surrendering five hits and one walk while fanning four over 6.0 stanzas.
The Pelicans tagged Dickson in the 1st with a bases loaded RBI sacrifice fly to deep center off the bat of RF Royce Bolinger before DH Nick Williams rapped an RBI single into right field on the ground and SS Hanser Alberto spiraled a run-scoring single into left center field to give the birds an early 3-0 lead.
The P-Nats answered immediately in the home half of the 1st inning versus LHP Andrew Faulkner with an RBI single off the bat of 1B Shawn Pleffner on a seeing-eye single up the middle to bring LF Randolph Oduber to the plate. Oduber led off the inning with a double blasted to the gap in right-center field.
Pleffner went 3-for-4 with one run scored and three RBIs in the game.
In the last of the 3rd, Potomac collected two runs off Faulkner to tie the game at 3-3 via an RBI sac fly from DH Oscar Tejeda to deep center field before Pleffner popped a double up the left field line
Faulkner lasted through the 6th inning while allowing three earned runs on eight hits with one walk and two strikeouts to his line. Like his opposition, Dickson, the lefty did not factor into the decision.
The Nationals tacked on three more runs to garner a 6-3 advantage off the losing pitcher, RHP Cody Buckel (0-3) in the last of the 7th using an RBI single swept through the right side of the infield by Pleffner to plate Oduber, who walked, and a throwing error on the play from Bolinger allowed SS Stephen Perez to also be driven home as the toss went to the backstop. Perez was given a free pass from Buckel. Nationals 2B Khayyan Norfork then cranked an RBI double to the right field corner to summon home Pleffner.
One run was charged to LHP Sam Stafford who entered to get all three outs in back of Buckel who did not record an out.
In the 8th inning against the winning pitcher, Potomac LHP Matthew Spann (2-0), Myrtle Beach 3B Joey Gallo blasted his Carolina League-best 13th home run of the season, a 400-foot-plus two-run dinger just over the yellow home run line at the top of the center field barrier in the 8th. With the score at 6-5, and one out, Williams was hit by a pitch on his lead shoulder and an errant throw on a comebacker from Spann put Alberto aboard. Nationals RHP Derek Self (SV 1) got the final out on a groundball to his own glove off the stick of LF Zach Cone.
In the 9th, Self forced a 6-3 groundout off the bat of DH Odubel Herrera before 2B Christopher Bostick reached on an error committed by 3B Adrian Sanchez on a ball that took an in-between bounce. C Jorge Alfaro knocked a 6-4 fielder’s choice groundball that cut down Bostick. Gallo struck out swinging to finish the game and seal Self’s first save of the season.
In the matinee Game Four at 1:05pm on Sunday afternoon, the P-Nats will throw RHP John Simms (0-0, 2.45) at Pelicans LHP Victor Payano (2-1, 5.00).
It will be a Kids Eat Free Sunday presented by: Little Caesars Team Dumfries & Haymarket in which kids 12 and under will receive a free slice of pizza courtesy of Little Caesars. In addition, the P-Nats will host a Mother’s Day Celebration at The Pfitz in which moms will join Kids Race the Bases sponsored by: Glory Day Grill with their children.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, which is accessible at www.potomacnationals.com, will broadcast the Game Four finale of the Nationals’ set with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Sunday afternoon beginning with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 12:50pm before the live play-by-play at 1:05pm.