P-Nats drop pair to Salem
A series plagued by rain saw Thursday night’s doubleheader between the Potomac Nationals (26-23) and Salem Red Sox (25-25) go off without a hitch, though bouts of rain threatened late in the second game. Salem took the resumption of Wednesday night’s suspended matchup 2-0, and then flipped the script and won with the bats in a 10-8 victory in game two.
The night began in the bottom of the third inning in game one in a scoreless matchup. It stayed scoreless until the home half of the fourth inning, when the Red Sox plated a pair against LHP Ben Braymer (L, 1-1). With two outs, 3B Bobby Dalbec made it 1-0 with an RBI double, and two batters later, C Jordan Procyshen made it 2-0, the eventual final, with a two-out RBI single.
Potomac struggled to muster much of anything vs. RHP Daniel Gonzalez (W, 6-0), as the righty worked three-shutout innings. Potomac put men on the corners with consecutive two-out singles in the sixth inning, but RF Rhett Wiseman flied out to end the frame. In the top of the seventh inning, RHP Matthew Gorst (SV, 7) worked a perfect frame and secured Salem’s victory.
In game two, the two teams saw their respective offense come alive. The teams totaled 26 hits and 18 runs in the 10-8 Salem win.
Salem took an early lead in game two, as Dalbec homered off of LHP Matthew Crownover (ND) with two outs in the first inning. Dalbec’s three-run home run was his league-leading 10th home run of the season. After the P-Nats got a run back in the top of the third inning against RHP Tanner Houck (ND), the Red Sox put up another three-run frame, as DH Roldani Baldwin hit a three-run home run of his own. The Red Sox led 6-1 after three innings.
Houck ran into trouble in the fourth inning, as Potomac tied the game with five runs. DH Edwin Lora plated a run with a two-out RBI single, while SS Carter Kieboom tied the game with a grand slam, his third of the season, all against Salem. Kieboom’s seventh home run of the season knocked Houck out of the game, as the Salem starter allowed six runs over just 3.2 innings.
The Red Sox bounced back from a five-run blown lead, as they plated three runs off of RHP Jorge Pantoja (L, 0-2) in the home half of the fourth inning. SS C.J. Chatham made it 7-6 Salem with a two-out RBI single, while Dalbec followed with a two-run single high off the right field wall. Salem took a 9-6 lead into the fifth inning.
In the fifth frame, both sides scored, as Potomac made it a one-run game with three straight two-out doubles off of RHP Jake Cosart (W, 1-0), but left the tying run at second base. In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Red Sox plated an insurance run and capped off the scoring on a sacrifice fly, which made it 10-8.
RHP Yankory Pimentel (SV, 2) got the final out in the fifth inning, worked around a single and walk in a scoreless sixth inning, and stranded a runner on base in the seventh inning, which locked up Salem’s victory.
With the doubleheader sweep, the Red Sox are now just 1.5 games behind Potomac in the Northern Division playoff race. The Lynchburg Hillcats (25-25) are also 1.5 games behind the P-Nats.
Off of the sweep, Potomac will head to face the Buies Creek Astros for the first time in 2018. The Astros have spent nearly the entire first half either atop the Southern Division, or within two games of the division lead.
First pitch at Jim Perry Stadium on Friday night is set for 6:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 5:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.