P-Nats fall short in 3-2 defeat to Mudcats
The Potomac Nationals (34-39) fell 3-2 to the Carolina Mudcats (38-33) on Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. With the loss, Potomac now holds a record of 8-18 in one-run games in 2017. RHP Kyle Schepel tossed three perfect innings of relief while LF Jack Sundberg collected two hits and an RBI in the loss on Saturday.
For the third consecutive game, the Mudcats jumped out first against the P-Nats. Carolina scored it’s only three runs of the game in the first inning. The first four Mudcats hitters registered a hit against LHP Taylor Guilbeau (L, 1-1). 3B Lucas Erceg singled in the first run and 1B Jake Gatewood tallied the second with a double. LF Monte Harrison’s first Carolina League RBI capped the scoring for Carolina and gave the Mudcats a 3-0 lead.
Guilbeau settled in after the first and put up zeroes over the rest of his start. The left-hander finished six innings and allowed just the three runs on seven hits. He fanned five Mudcats en route to his first quality start in his third start of the season.
RHP Cody Ponce (W, 6-5) was a step better against the P-Nats on Saturday. The Southern Division All-Star allowed two unearned runs over 6.2 innings. Potomac only managed four hits and two walks against the right-hander.
The P-Nats scored both of their runs in the bottom of the third inning against Ponce. SS David Masters reached second to begin the inning on a catching error by Harrison in left. C Matt Reistteter took advantage of the defensive mishap with an RBI single up the right-field line. With two outs, Sundberg stepped in and drilled his first career Carolina League triple deep to center field to cut the deficit to 3-2 after three.
Both bullpens stifled any offense over the rest of the game. For Potomac, Schepel was perfect over three scoreless frames in his 17th outing of 2017. The right-hander retired all nine batters he faced in a row, striking out six in the process. Schepel struck out the side to begin his appearance in the seventh inning.
Meanwhile, RHP Nate Griep (S, 15) finished off the game for Carolina with a scoreless ninth. Masters sent a ball deep down the left-field line with two outs, but the 0-1 offering ended up in foul territory. Griep responded by punching out Masters to strike out the side and end the game.
Sundberg finished the game with two hits to extend his hitting streak to eight games. CF Victor Robles also extended his hitting streak to seven games with a double in the top of the first. Robles now has a team-high 18 two-baggers and 33 extra base hits in 57 games in 2017.
After dropping two in a row, Potomac looks to split the four-game series Sunday at 1:05 pm against the Carolina Mudcats at The Pfitz. The Red, White & Blue turn to RHP Luis Reyes (5-6, 4.75) to pick up the split in his first start of the second half. Carolina’s starter will be a game-time decision for Manager Joe Ayrault.
Coverage of the finale begins at 12:50 pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. The game will be broadcasted live on potomacnationals.com or through the TuneIn Radio or MiLB First Pitch apps.