P-Nats rally late, even series against Pelicans

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (10-11, 40-48) and Myrtle Beach Pelicans (11-11, 32-57) played a back-and-forth affair on Thursday night, with both teams coming back from early deficits. In the end, it was the P-Nats who emerged victorious with a two-run rally in the eighth to win 5-4.

CF Cole Freeman went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs batted in and the game-tying RBI triple in the eighth to pace Potomac. Freeman also stole a pair of bases, giving him a team-best 21 on the season.

Myrtle Beach scored first in the first as 2B Carlos Sepulveda doubled off LHP Carson Teel and scored on an RBI single from C Miguel Amaya. Teel pitched a career-high 5.1 innings on 90 pitches, striking out five and receiving a no-decision.

In the second, the P-Nats briefly tied the game at 1-1 when LF Telmito Agustin tripled and SS Gilbert Lara singled with two outs off RHP Alexander Vargas. The Pelicans would waste no time in re-taking the lead in the bottom half, getting back-to-back doubles from LF Grant Fennell and DH Wladimir Galindo, but an RBI single from Freeman in the third brought the score back to even at 2-2.

Both starting pitchers settled in as they faced their respective lineups for a second time. Vargas would be the first to blink, as he allowed a leadoff single to Freeman in the sixth and a two-out double to C Alex Dunlap to put Potomac ahead 3-2.

Teel had not pitched beyond the fifth inning in his professional career, and got one out in the sixth before allowing a walk and a single to put runners on the corners. LHP Hayden Howard entered and allowed back-to-back singles to Fennell and Galindo to give Myrtle Beach a 4-3 lead.

LHP Aaron Fletcher (W, 3-1) got the final out of the sixth and pitched through the eighth, continuing his run of dominance with 2.1 perfect innings of relief. By keeping the deficit at one, Fletcher set the stage for Potomac’s heroics in the eighth off RHP Ethan Roberts (L, 0-1).

RF Gage Canning led off the eighth with a soft single to left field, and Freeman followed with a triple to the left-center gap to tie the game 4-4. Moments later, 1B Aldrem Corredor singled past a drawn-in infield for his league-leading 65th RBI of the season to put Potomac ahead 5-4. RHP Jhonatan German (S, 4) pitched around a pair of singles in the ninth to earn his fourth save and seal the come-from-behind win.

The P-Nats will look to win the series on Friday night as they finish their three-game set against the Pelicans. RHP Malvin Peña faces off against RHP Javier Assad in the finale. First pitch from TicketReturn.com Field is set for 7:05 pm, with the P-Nats Leadoff Show starting at 6:50 on potomacnationals.com or the TuneIn Radio App.

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