Offense scuffles for Potomac in 5-1 loss to Blue Rocks

Potomac NationalsJust two pitches into the series opener between the Potomac Nationals (15-24) and Wilmington Blue Rocks (24-16) on Friday night, the visiting Blue Rocks took a 1-0 lead, a lead that the top team in the Carolina League’s Northern Division never relinquished. The Blue Rocks scored in three of the first four innings yet were outhit 5-4 in the victory.

LF Brewer Hicklen led off the game with a first pitch triple to right-centerfield, while DH MJ Melendez made it 1-0 with a first pitch RBI groundout off of LHP Grant Borne (L, 1-2). Borne retired six straight batters after the leadoff triple, but lost command of the strike zone in the third inning. Borne hit the first man that he faced and then walked the next batter in the frame, as Hicklen stepped to the plate with two men on and no outs in the inning. The Wilmington leadoff hitter followed with his second triple of the night, which gave the Blue Rocks an early 3-0 lead.

RHP Jackson Kowar (W, 3-2) was dominant for the Blue Rocks, one start after he struggled against Potomac. Just under a week after he gave up five runs over four innings against Potomac, Kowar allowed just one run over six innings in a dominant performance on Friday night. Kowar struck out five and walked just one in the victory. The Wilmington starter’s lone blemish of the night came after RF Nick Banks doubled in the fifth inning, took third base on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout from CF Cole Freeman.

Wilmington tacked on a pair of insurance runs on a two-run home run from 3B Dennicher Carrasco off of Borne in the fourth inning, and with one of the league’s top pitching staffs, the advantage proved to be more than enough. LHP Holden Capps followed Kowar with two-shutout innings, while RHP Tyler Zuber worked a perfect ninth frame and closed out Wilmington’s 5-1 win. RHP Luis Reyes spun three-scoreless innings out of the Potomac bullpen.

Off of the loss, Potomac will turn to LHP Nick Raquet (1-5, 7.16) in game one of a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday night. LHP Marcelo Martinez (2-0, 2.53) is scheduled to start game one for the Blue Rocks. In game two on Saturday night, LHP Carson Teel (1-0, 1.64) is set to start for Potomac, while Wilmington has yet to determine its starting pitcher. Both games are scheduled for seven innings.

First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Saturday night is set for 5:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 4:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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