The Potomac Nationals (21-18, 11-10) split a Saturday twin bill with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (27-14, 12-9) at TicketReturn.com Field inside Pelicans Ballpark. The Nationals claimed a 2-1 victory in the frontend ballgame before losing the nightcap 4-3 following a walk-off double from 2B Christopher Bostick socked into the left-center field gap in the 8th inning.
Potomac is now (0-3) in extra-inning affairs, (7-4) in one-run contests, and (4-6) head-to-head with Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2014.
The Pelicans own the advantage in the current four-game series two games to one.
In Game One of the doubleheader, winning pitcher, RHP Ronald Pena (3-1) was terrific through 5.0 frames in which he allowed just one earned run on five base hits while walking four, striking out two, and keeping the ball in the ballpark.
The P-Nats are now (8-1) when Pena is the starting pitcher so far in the 2014 campaign.
Pena stranded two runners in the 1st, 4th, and 5th innings.
Potomac leaped out to a 2-0 lead in the seven-inning game when DH Oscar Tejeda yanked his sixth homer of the season out to left field off the losing pitcher, Myrtle Beach LHP Victor Payano (3-2).
Payano dealt 6.0 innings and surrendered a pair of earned runs on four hits. The southpaw walked four and fanned three.
The Pelicans earned one run in the 5th when LF Nick Williams’ walk scored on an RBI 5-3 groundout off the lumber of RF Royce Bolinger.
Nationals LHP Bryan Harper served as the setup man in the 6th and the lefty hung a zero despite walking one.
Nationals RHP Derek Self (SV 2) dealt a shutdown 9th en route to his second save. Self struck out Williams and 1B Jorge Alfaro swinging in the perfect frame before DH Joey Gallo popped out to shallow center field to seal a 2-1 edge job for the P-Nats over the birds.
In the nightcap, Tejeda went yard again in the opening stanza off Pelicans RHP Jason Knapp who did not receive a decision after going just 3.0 innings. Knapp allowed only that one run on that one hit while walking two and fanning one.
Myrtle Beach answered off RHP John Simms, who is still without a professional victory in Minor League Baseball after being drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 11th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
Simms was non-decisioned after pitching a gutsy quality start through 6.0 innings. Simms allowed one earned run on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts to his line.
In the 4th, the Pelicans got their first run to tie the contest at 1-1 when Williams popped a double into left field that LF Mike McQuillan lost in the combination of the stadium lights and the dusk sky which led to an Alfaro RBI single ripped into left-center field.
Simms convinced Potomac Manager, Tripp Keister to keep him in the game in the 6th inning and induced a fielder’s choice grounder off the stick of Alfaro that hopped up into the mitt of SS Stephen Perez.
After the tie game continued into an extra frame in the 8th, Perez sprayed a single the other way into left-center before 1B Shawn Pleffner was intentionally walked. LF Randolph Oduber was unintentionally walked by the winning pitcher, RHP Able De Los Santos (3-0) setting up a two-run single drilled into the alleyway in left-center field by 3B Khayyan Norfork to propel the Nationals to a 3-1 lead.
Disaster struck for the visitors in the bottom of the 8th as the losing pitcher, Potomac RHP Gilberto Mendez (1-2) allowed three earned runs including the walk-off double whacked by Bostick. Gallo slaughtered his 18th homer of the season, a two-run shot after Williams doubled for the third time in the game, over the right-center field barrier. 1B Preston Beck then sliced a bloop double up the left field chalk, and Bostick whipped a game-winning two-bagger to the alley in left to provide the insta-victory for the home club.
This was the Pelicans’ third walk-off victory of the 2014 campaign.
The Nationals have yet to announce a starting pitcher for tomorrow’s Game Four finale while the Pelicans will throw LHP Luis Parra (4-1, 4.10) for the 6:05pm start.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, which is accessible at www.potomacnationals.com, will broadcast the P-Nats’Sunday series finale with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Broadcast coverage will begin with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 5:50pmin preparation for a 6:05pm first pitch.