P-Nats drop series finale to Blue Rocks

The Potomac Nationals (39-48) dropped the final game of a four-game series with the Wilmington Blue Rocks (48-41) with a 7-3 loss on Monday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium. The Blue Rocks scored all seven of their runs with two outs to take three out of four games against the P-Nats. C Taylor Gushue launched his team-leading 14th home run in the four-run loss.

p-natsWilmington jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning against LHP Taylor Guilbeau (L, 2-2). Guilbeau retired two in the inning, but with runners on first and second, 3B Wander Franco lined a two-run double into the right-field corner. Franco was thrown out trying to stretch his two-run double into a triple.

Potomac took the lead with three runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Gushue evened the score with his team-leading 14th home run of the year in the bottom of the fourth. His two-run shot upped his Carolina-League leading RBI total to 58 on the season. 2B Austin Davidson delivered the P-Nats’ only lead of the game with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. The Red, White & Blue led 3-2 after five from the Pfitz.

However, the Blue Rocks wasted no time taking the lead back. With two outs again, DH Chase Vallot and C Nathan Esposito singled. Then, LF Roman Collins laced a liner to left-center scoring both runners. Like Franco in the third, Collins was also thrown out trying to stretch a double to a triple. The clutch two-out knock gave the Rocks a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish.

The two-run sixth inning chased Guilbeau from the game falling a run extra of his fourth quality start in a row. Guilbeau finished six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks. The left-hander fanned two Wilmington batters in his sixth start of the season.

Former All-Star closer RHP Francisco Rodriguez made his Potomac debut on Mondayafternoon. “K-Rod” allowed three runs (0 ER) in the top of the ninth inning. 2B D.J. Burt drove in two more with a two-out RBI single. The Blue Rocks second baseman would score on a throwing error by Gushue trying to throw out CF Nick Heath trying to steal second.

The P-Nats threatened with two base runners in the bottom of the ninth inning against RHP Walker Sheller. However, Sheller settled down to strike out the final batter of the game and secure the 7-3 win. With the victory, Wilmington defeated Potomac in 8 of 12 contests from Pfitzner Stadium in 2017. The Blue Rocks and P-Nats will meet one final time at Frawley Stadium from 7/16-7/18 to close out their regular season schedule against one another.

Potomac will have an off day on Tuesday before it hits the road for a seven-game road trip. The road series begins with a four-game series against the Salem Red Sox. The P-Nats will throw LHP Hector Silvestre (7-3, 4.31) in the series opener on Wednesday against RHP Shaun Anderson (2-2, 5.05) for the Red Sox.

First pitch on Wednesday is scheduled for 7:05 pm at Haley Toyota Field in Salem, VA. Potomac coverage of the game begins at 6:50 pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. The broadcast will be streamed live on potomacnationals.com or by using the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.

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