P-Nats score early, late to top Frederick Keys
The Potomac Nationals (27-20, 57-57) won their fourth consecutive series on Thursday night, defeating the Frederick Keys (17-28, 46-68) by a score of 8-2 in the final game of their weeklong road trip.
Three home runs and a stellar start for LHP Nick Raquet (W, 9-8) helped the P-Nats get back to the .500 mark for the first time since early April and retain first place in the Northern Division with 23 games to play.
Potomac led from the game’s first moments, as CF Cole Freeman was hit by a pitch from LHP DL Hall (L, 4-5) and took second on a passed ball before stealing third and scoring on an errant throw. Later in the first, 1B KJ Harrison hit a two-run homer to put Potomac ahead 3-0.
The Keys would answer immediately in their half of the first inning, greeting Raquet with back-to-back doubles from CF Zach Jarrett and SS Cadyn Grenier to get on the board. Once 3B Jomar Reyes chopped an RBI single through the middle, Potomac’s lead was cut to 3-2.
Both Hall and Raquet settled down after their rocky first innings, with the Keys starter getting through 5.2 innings and the Potomac southpaw turning in his fifth consecutive quality start with 6.0 innings. Raquet faced the minimum through his final five frames, allowing two total runs on four hits with three strikeouts.
The 3-2 lead would hold through the seventh as RHP Gabe Klobosits (H, 2) relieved Raquet with two scoreless innings. In the eighth, C Jakson Reetz hit a two-run blast to extend the Potomac lead to 5-2, and in the ninth 3B Omar Meregildo hit a solo homer before LF Aldrem Corredor and Harrison added their own run-scoring hits. RHP Frankie Bartow faced the minimum in the ninth to seal the 8-2 win.
The P-Nats return home on Friday for a pivotal six-game homestand against the Lynchburg Hillcats and Myrtle Beach Pelicans. LHP Tim Cate faces off against Hillcats LHP Juan Hillman in the series opener. First pitch at Northwest Federal Field is set for 7:05 pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show beginning at 6:50. Fans can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.