P-Nats fall to Blue Rocks in pitchers’ duel
The Potomac Nationals (13-21) got a great start from LHP Grant Borne in game two of their series against the first-place Wilmington Blue Rocks (19-15) on Saturday, but couldn’t muster enough offense as they fell 2-1.
Borne (L, 1-1), who had only allowed one run in 22.0 career innings against the Blue Rocks entering the outing, turned in his first quality start of the season and longest performance since 2017. The lefty fanned a career-high eight batters, but allowed an RBI double to 2B Ricky Aracena in the fifth that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
Potomac had plenty of opportunities against LHP Marcelo Martinez (W, 2-0) in the early innings, couldn’t convert against the Wilmington starter. They left men on first and third in the first inning, and squandered a leadoff double from SS Osvaldo Abreu in the second when the speedy infielder was thrown out trying to advance to third on a fly ball to right a few batters later.
RF Nick Banks put Potomac ahead in the third with a solo home run to right field, his third of the year. It marked the tenth time in 11 games that the P-Nats have scored before their opponent, but with the loss fell to 4-7 during that stretch.
Wilmington evened the score in the bottom of the third as SS Cristian Perez led off the inning with a single, took second on a sacrifice, and stole third before the throw from C Jakson Reetz allowed him to jog home with an unearned run. Aracena’s double in the fifth inning gave the Blue Rocks a 2-1 lead that they would not give up, though Borne finished strong and retired the final five batters he faced.
Banks started another potential Potomac rally in the sixth inning with a leadoff single, with 2B Cole Freeman eventually taking his place on a fielder’s choice. DH Aldrem Corredor doubled down the left field line with Freeman running on the pitch, but a perfect relay from the corner cut down the tying run at the plate to preserve the lead.
Martinez departed after six, and both teams’ bullpens made quick work of the rest of the game. RHP AJ Bogucki pitched two scoreless innings for Potomac, and RHP Collin Snyder and RHP Tad Ratliff (S, 9) finished it off for the Blue Rocks.
The P-Nats and Blue Rocks face off in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon as LHP Nick Raquet takes on Wilmington LHP Daniel Tillo. First pitch from Frawley Stadium is set for 1:35 pm, with the P-Nats Leadoff Show beginning at 1:20 on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network. Fans can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.