Offense breaks out in Potomac Nationals 9-2 win
Behind a strong pitching performance and timely two-out hitting, the Potomac Nationals (1-1) picked up a Friday night victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks (1-1). Potomac scored seven runs with two outs, and got a solo home run from both SS Carter Kieboom and 3B Jake Noll, while RHP Sterling Sharp (W, 1-0) allowed just one run and struck out six over five innings.
A combination of timely hitting paired with a defensive mistake by the Blue Rocks in the bottom of the first inning gave Potomac an early 4-0 advantage. With two men on and two outs, DH Austin Davidson hit a line drive to straightaway centerfield. CF Khalil Lee misread the hard contact and saw the ball sail over his glove. Davidson tallied a two-run triple, which put Potomac on top 2-0, and Potomac never gave up the lead. C Tres Barrera followed Davidson’s triple with an RBI double, and RF Rhett Wiseman made it 4-0 with another RBI two-base hit. Potomac went 5-8 with RISP in the game, and all five hits came with two outs.
The Blue Rocks got a run back immediately against Sharp, as 3B Emmanuel Rivera led off the second inning with a home run. Sharp surrendered two more hits in the inning, but stranded men at second and third base.
Potomac put the game out of reach with three runs in the third inning off of RHP Jace Vines (L, 0-1). Once again, it was two-out hitting that plated all of the runs. 2B Bryan Mejia drove in a pair with a double, while LF Telmito Agustin brought Mejia home with a double of his own. The P-Nats led 7-1 after three innings.
While the Wilmington bullpen fared better than Vines, both RHP Grant Gavin and RHP Matt Wynne each gave up a solo home run. Kieboom tallied his first home run of the year with a solo blast off of Gavin in the fourth inning, while Noll hit his second home run in as many nights, this time off of Wynne in the seventh.
In relief of Sharp, LHP Hayden Howard and RHP Mariano Rivera III each worked two innings out of the bullpen. Howard retired all six batters that he faced, while Rivera gave up a solo home run to Lee in the eighth frame.
Off of their first victory of the season, the P-Nats will start RHP Joan Baez (0-0, 0.00). The righty made 17 starts and posted a sub-4.00 ERA in 2017 for Potomac. RHP Ofreidy Gomez (0-0, 0.00) is set to start for the Blue Rocks. Gomez will make his Carolina League debut.
First pitch on Saturday night is set for 6:35pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:20pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Sponsorship opportunities for the P-Nats’ 2017 season and beyond are available, as well as all-inclusive corporate outings to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2017 single game tickets, season tickets, mini plans, group outings, and picnic packages, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals’ Extreme Custom Collision Ticket Office at 703-590-2311.