P-Nats escape with 4-3 win over Frederick

Potomac NationalsA night after the Potomac Nationals (21-14) set a new season high for both runs and hits, they escaped in nail-biting fashion over the Frederick Keys (14-21) Friday night 4-3. The Keys got the tying run into scoring position and the winning run on base in the ninth inning, but stranded both, as Frederick went just 1-12 with RISP in the game.

The Keys scored the first run of the game, something they have not done often this season, just 11 times in 35 games. RHP Wil Crowe (ND) walked LF Randolph Gassaway with two outs in the bottom of the first inning, while DH Wilson Garcia made it 1-0 in favor of the Keys with an RBI double.

Potomac answered with a run right away in the top of the second inning, and then never trailed. LF Alec Keller led off with a single against LHP Alex Wells (ND). C Tres Barrera followed with a single, before Wells retired the next two hitters. With two outs, 2B Bryan Mejia tied the game with an RBI double. It was one of just two hits with men in scoring position in the game for Potomac, as the P-Nats went just 2-12 with RISP and left 13 men on base.

The score remained 1-1 until the top of the fourth inning, when 3B David Masters tallied his first home run of the season. Potomac’s sixth home run of the series made it 2-1 in the fourth.

Both sides plated a run in the fifth inning, as Potomac took a 3-1 lead on a sacrifice fly from Keller, which plated DH Ian Sagdal, but the Keys responded with an RBI double by CF Ryan McKenna. Wells failed to make it through the fifth inning, as the lefty allowed three runs on 10 hits over 4.2 frames.

Crowe meanwhile pitched through the sixth frame, but saw the defense behind him lead to the game-tying run. After a two-out double from C Yojhan Quevedo, 1B Collin Woody grounded out to SS Carter Kieboom. Kieboom’s throw to first base sailed over 1B Jake Noll, which allowed the run to score. Crowe allowed three runs, two earned, and walked four over six frames.

After a scoreless seventh inning from RHP Ronald Pena, the P-Nats scored the eventual game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning. RHP James Teague (L, 1-2) became the third pitcher of the night for the Keys. CF Blake Perkins singled with one out, and then advanced to third base on a single by Kieboom. Sagdal followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly, as Potomac took a 4-3 lead into the home half of the eighth inning. Sagdal finished with four hits and an RBI.

Frederick threatened in each of the final two frames. In the bottom of the eighth, RHP Gabe Klobosits walked one and hit a batter, but stranded men at first and second base, as he struck out McKenna. In the ninth, RHP James Bourque (SV, 2) worked around a leadoff single and a two-out base hit, as he got RF Cole Billingsley to ground out to third base to end the game.

In the victory, all nine Potomac starters recorded at least one hit. Kieboom extended his hit streak to eight games, while Sagdal, Perkins, and Barrera each extended their respective hit streaks to four games. The teams went a combined 3-24 with RISP and left a total of 25 men on base.

A season-high seven games over .500 and with a multi-game lead over the rest of the Northern Division, the P-Nats will turn to veteran RHP Tyler Mapes (3-0, 2.77) on Saturday evening. Mapes, who has been on the DL since his start on 4/29 at Lynchburg, didn’t allow a run over five innings in his only other start of the year vs. the Keys. For Frederick, RHP Cristian Alvarado (4-2, 3.71) will try to snap the Keys’ three-game losing streak. Alvarado has pitched at least five innings in each of his six starts, and has allowed more than three earned runs just once.

First pitch at Nymeo Field on Saturday 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.

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