P-Nats, Frederick Keys split doubleheader
Through extreme heat on Thursday night, the Potomac Nationals (43-51, 13-14) and Frederick Keys (38-59, 9-19) split a doubleheader at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium. The Keys connected on three home runs in route to an 8-3 victory in game one while Potomac strung four consecutive two-out hits together in the fourth inning of a 4-1 game two win.
RHP Malvin Pena (L, 5-6) worked himself out of a jam in the top of the first inning and saw his offense put the P-Nats ahead 1-0 after just one frame. After CF Cole Freeman singled with one out in the inning, 1B Aldrem Corredor got grazed the ball on a swing and dribbled it 10 feet down the first base line. RHP David Lebron (ND) fielded the ball cleanly but threw it past 1B J.C. Escarra. As the ball rolled into the right field corner, Freeman scored, as Potomac led 1-0 on the error after one inning.
Potomac’s lead was short lived, as the SS Cadyn Grenier homered on the second pitch of the second inning. Grenier’s home run in his first at-bat in the Carolina League tied the game and was the first of three home runs that Pena surrendered over just 3.2 innings. Two innings later, LF Trevor Craport gave the Keys a 2-1 lead with an RBI double. One batter later, 3B Patrick Dorrian tallied a two-run home run and made it 4-1 Frederick. Four batters after that, DH Jomar Reyes put the game away with a three-run home run. The Keys led 7-1 after 3.5 innings.
Out of the Frederick bullpen, RHP Luis Perez (W, 4-1) retired nine of the 10 Potomac hitters that he faced. Over the final three innings, only C Jakson Reetz reached against the Frederick righty.
Pena allowed seven runs on eight hits for the P-Nats, while RHP Jorge Pantoja allowed one run over 3.1 innings out of the Potomac bullpen. The P-Nats picked up a pair of runs in the fourth inning and left the bases loaded in the frame, while the Keys scored an insurance run in the final inning, as Frederick won the opener 8-3.
In the back half of the twin bill, neither offense mustered much over the first two innings. RHP Luis Reyes (W, 2-5) allowed a one-out triple to DH Kirvin Moesquit in the third frame on an ill-advised dive by CF Gage Canning. Moesquit scored the game’s first run on an RBI groundout from C Daniel Fajardo, as Frederick led 1-0 after 2.5 innings.
Three strong innings to start from RHP Blaine Knight (L, 0-7) looked to be the beginning of a rare strong outing for the touted right-handed starter, but two-out damage by Potomac ruined his evening. After DH Aldrem Corredor drew a leadoff walk, Knight retired the next two batters in order. A two-out single from 1B KJ Harrison beat the infield shift while SS Gilbert Lara loaded the bases on an infield single. 3B Omar Meregildo turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead with a two-run double, while Canning followed with a two-run triple into the right field corner. Potomac sent nine men to the plate in the four-run fourth inning, as the P-Nats led 4-1 after four frames. Knight failed to make it through the fourth inning, as RHP Giogenes Almengo recorded the final out of the frame. Almengo struck out the side in the sixth inning for the Keys.
Reyes struck out three and walked just one over five innings in the victory. In his first win since June 2nd, the Potomac starter allowed just three hits and gave way to LHP Hayden Howard. The left-handed reliever followed a one-out walk in the sixth frame with an inning-ending double play, one of three double plays that Potomac pitching induced in the win. Howard ran into trouble in the seventh inning, as Dorrian singled with one out while Grenier walked, which ended Howard’s night. RHP Jhonatan German (SV, 5) entered with the tying run at the plate and only one out. The right-handed reliever quickly struck out the pinch-hitting Brett Cumberland, while Moesquit grounded out to German, which ended the game and secured Potomac’s 4-1 win.
In the rubber match of the series set for Friday night, LHP Carson Teel (3-2, 3.90) is scheduled to start for Potomac. Initially slated to start on Wednesday night before the postponement, Teel is 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA over his last two outings. For the Keys, 2017 first round pick LHP DL Hall (3-3, 3.57) is set to start. Hall hasn’t been charged with an earned run in either of his last two outings, which encompass 9.1 innings. The left-handed starter picked up his only professional save in his previous outing against Potomac, a four-inning relief effort on May 9th.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium on Friday night is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.