The Potomac Nationals (2-2, 2-2) used a furious late rally to best the Carolina Mudcats (2-2, 2-2) by the final score of 6-4 in their 2014 carolina league Opening Weekend series finale at Five County Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The P-Nats will jump on their team bus with a .500 record after squaring up their 2014 win/loss ledger on the young season.
Encarnacion did not receive a decision, but allowed just two base hits and struck out a pair.
Carolina plated the first run of the contest on an RBI double bashed to the left field wall by 3B James Roberts in the 2nd inning which scored the single of LF LeVon Washington.
The Nationals answered when DH Kevin Keyes endured a double-digit pitch at-bat in the 4th frame versus RHP Cole Sulser and ripped an RBI single back up the middle, who like Encarnacion, did not factor into a decision.
Sulser allowed one unearned run on one base hit in 5.0 innings of work.
The Mudcats took the lead in the 6th with two runs off RHP Ian Dickson, who was let off the hook for a loss thanks to the P-Nats’ late offensive fireworks.
Dickson allowed an RBI sacrifice fly to RF Ollie Linton after a fielding error charged to SS Stephen Perez allowed the first run of the stanza to score.
With the score in favor of Carolina at 3-1 in the 8th, Perez ignited a rally with a double to the gap in left center before C Pedro Severino knocked an infield single, and 1B Justin Miller laid down a sacrifice bunt to push two runners into scoring position. LF Mike McQuillan then swept an RBI groundout to first base before 2B Tony Renda was hit by a pitch from the losing pitcher, RHP Carlos Melo (0-1). 3B Oscar Tejeda then blooped a two-RBI single in front of CF Logan Vick to plate both Severino and Renda and propel the Nationals to a 4-3 advantage.
Potomac RHP Travis Henke (1-0), the winning pitcher, tossed a one-two-three 7th inning in advance of the outpouring of offense.
Nationals RHP Gilberto Mendez served as a solid set-up man as he worked out of the 8th inning with a 4-3 double play ball off the stick of Washington.
The visitors added two runs of insurance in the 9th when RHP Benny Suarez issued back-to-back walks to RF Brandon Miller and CF Will Piwnica-Worms leading up to an RBI single chopped over the head of 1B Charlie Valerio by Perez and a sac fly for Severino to put the Nationals up 6-3.
Benincasa induced a comebacker to the mound off the bat of Vick to seal the Nationals’ victory which salvaged the road trip with a series split.
After an off-day tomorrow, the Potomac Nationals will host their home opener at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium onTuesday, April 8th as the Lynchburg Hillcats (Atlanta Braves) invade the ballyard in Woodbridge, Virginia.
The official 2014 P-Nats Opening Day standoff features a 7:05pm first pitch.
The Nationals will send LHP Nick Lee (0-0, 0.00) to face Lynchburg RHP Andrew Waszak (0-0, 0.00) for the first matchup at The Pfitz in 2014.
The P-Nats will be giving away 2014 magnet schedules presented by: F.H. Furr to the first 1,000 fans and the first Two-for-Tuesday promotion sponsored by: Logan’s Sausage will be running in which fans receive two tickets, two hot dogs, and two small sodas for the price of one. Tickets must be purchased at the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office on the day of the game