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P-Nats rout Astros, 8-2

Potomac NationalsAn offensive outburst through two different rain delays helped the Potomac Nationals (27-24) snap a four-game losing streak, as the P-Nats picked up an 8-2 victory over the Buies Creek Astros (31-24). Potomac walked 15 times and scored the final five runs of the night, which sets up a series rubber match on Sunday.

For the second consecutive night, Potomac struck first. Unlike Friday night, the P-Nats held on for the victory. With runners on the corners and one out in the top of the third inning, SS Carter Kieboom grounded out to 1B Troy Sieber, who’s throw to the plate couldn’t beat 1B David Masters. It was the first of four RBIs in the game for Kieboom.

An inning later, both teams struck for a pair of runs. Less than one batter into the frame, the skies opened and the game went into its first rain delay. After a brief stoppage, RF Rhett Wiseman drew a leadoff walk. After a groundout by C Tres Barrera put Wiseman at second base, a wild pitch advanced him to third base. DH Jack Sundberg then drew a walk, while a wild pitch from RHP Hector Perez (L, 1-2) plated Wiseman and made it 2-0 Potomac. Masters followed with an RBI single, which scored Sundberg, as Potomac led 3-0 after 3.5 innings.

The delay seemed to cause some command problems for RHP Wil Crowe (W, 7-0), as he walked consecutive hitters with one out in the home half of the fourth inning. DH Luis Payano made it a one-run game with a two-run double, but with men on the corners and the tying run at third base and only one out, Barrera picked off Payano at third base. The Astros got just one more runner into scoring position after that. The P-Nats took a 3-2 lead into the fifth frame.

3B Jake Noll knocked Perez out of the game with a two-out RBI double in the fifth inning, while LHP Adam Bleday walked four straight batters amidst a downpour in the sixth inning, which made it 5-2 Potomac. Barrera tallied a solo home run off of RHP Robert Corniel in the seventh inning, while Kieboom capped off the scoring with a two-run home run off of Corniel in the eighth frame. Potomac led 8-2 after Kieboom’s home run, the eventual final.

Out of the Potomac bullpen, LHP Taylor Guilbeau and LHP Jordan Mills each worked two no-hit, shutout innings.

With the win, Potomac remains in first place in the Northern Division. Paired with a loss by the Salem Red Sox, and a rainout of the Lynchburg Hillcats’ game, the P-Nats are 1.0 game ahead of Lynchburg and 1.5 games ahead of Salem, as all three teams will conclude its respective series on Sunday.

Potomac will send RHP Joan Baez (2-3, 4.99) to the mound in search of a series win on the road Sunday afternoon. Baez has allowed just five total earned runs over his last three starts. For the Astros, RHP Gabriel Valdez (1-2, 5.50) is set to make his third start and seventh appearance of the season. Valdez has pitched more than 3.1 innings just once in 2018.

First pitch at Jim Perry Stadium on Sunday afternoon is set for 2:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 1:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.