P-Nats crush Rocks
Sammy Solis got an avalanche of run support in his Carolina League debut – and he hardly needed it. Potomac erupted for 12 runs, eight of which came in a decisive second inning and helped lead the lefthander to a victory in his first start with the P-Nats. J.P. Ramirez capped an incredible homestand with his first career grand slam that helped earn the Nats their second straight series win to open the season’s second half.
Though Solis’s debut turned into a smooth one, that was not a given early. Battling a tight strike one, Solis walked one and yielded two hits as the Blue Rocks took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. But the Nationals bats were quick to the rescue.
In the bottom half of the first, Francisco Soriano walked to open the inning and moved to third on Jeff Kobernus’s double. Destin Hood’s RBI groundout tied the game, and Justin Bloxom’s sacrifice fly to left pushed the Nationals to a lead they would never relinquish.
After Solis settled in and retired the Rocks in order in the second (he would face just two more than the minimum from the second to the fifth inning), Potomac’s offense awakened.
J.P. Ramirez grounded out to open the inning. Little did he know he would get another chance in the same frame. Sandy Leon hit his first homer of the season, a massive blast to right that began a string of ten straight hitters that would reach base. Hood struck again with a two-run double that scored Kobernus and Eury Perez, who was on base three times. After Bloxom walked and Steven Souza reached on an error by third baseman John Whittleman, Ramirez got his second shot of the inning – and he made the most of it. A titanic blast to right field put Potomac in front by nine runs and put the game away.
Solis encountered a little trouble in the sixth. Whittleman finished off a big series with his second homer of the set, a deep blast to right. Two more singles were followed by an RBI groundout from Jose Bonilla that made it 12-3; the Nationals had scored indivudual runs on a Hood grounder (he drove in four on the day) and a throwing error by Brendan Lafferty in the fourth.
With the win, the Nationals move to 7-6 in the half as they head to Frederick for a three-game set. Wednesday night, Paul Demny takes the mound against Nich Haughian at 7 P.M.