P-Nats send it to extras, fall in 10th, 4-3

p-natsAlthough the Potomac Nationals (16-13 Overall, 10-5 Road) plated a run in the ninth inning and extended Tuesday night’s game into extra innings, the hometown Carolina Mudcats (13-18 Overall, 7-6 Home) ended things just two batters into the bottom of the 10thinning in the series opener, a 4-3 walk-off loss for the P-Nats.

Down to their final three outs, the Nationals got a leadoff double from 1B Jose Marmolejos in the ninth inning. A groundout by C Raudy Read moved Marmolejos to third base. With the infield drawn in, 3B Drew Ward hit what should have resulted in an easy groundout hit to Carolina second baseman Ryan Gebhardt. But Gebhardt picked up his head and looked at Marmolejos at third base before the ball got into his glove, as Ward’s ground ball deflected off of Gebhardt’s glove and rolled towards first baseman Joey Meneses. Though Ward was retired at first base, Marmolejos scored the game-tying run and ushered the game into extra innings.

RHP Dakota Bacus (L, 0-1) was brilliant to begin his 2016 P-Nats debut, as he retired eight of the first nine hitters that he faced in relief ofRHP Erick Fedde (ND). But LF Joseph Daris tripled into the right-centerfield gap to start the bottom of the 10th inning, and with the infield drawn in, Gebhardt made up for his defensive mistake with a walk-off single through the left side.

In the no-decision, Fedde was far better than his previous outing where recorded just two outs. Tuesday night, the righty allowed just two earned runs, three runs overall, over 6.1 innings, his second quality start of 2016. Fedde struck out four and walked only one.

Opposite Fedde, RHP Max Povse (ND) allowed a run three batters into the game, but surrendered just one more after that, as he pitched through seven strong innings. CF Andrew Stevenson and SS Osvaldo Abreu started the game with back-to-back singles, and Stevenson scored on Marmolejos’ double play groundout, as the P-Nats led 1-0 after half an inning.

The Mudcuts had the only multi-run inning of the night for either side in the second. After 3B Jordan Edgerton drew a one-out walk, RF Braxton Davidson reached on a fielder’s choice that likely should have been an inning-ending double play. Davidson went to third base on a single by C Tanner Murphy and scored on Daris’ RBI base hit. With men on the corners and two outs, Daris tried a delayed steal from first base, and Read’s throw skipped into 2B Bryan Mejia, which allowed Murphy to score from third and made it 2-1 Carolina.

Both sides scored a run in the fourth inning, as Mejia had a two-out double for the P-Nats and scored on DH Alec Keller’s RBI single. Edgerton started the home half of the frame with a double, went to third on a single by Davidson, and scored on Murphy’s RBI fielder’s choice groundout. Carolina led 3-2 after four innings and maintained that edge until the dramatics in the ninth.

RHP Evan Phillips (BS, W, 1-0) was charged with just his second earned run of the season in the ninth despite that the run scored on the defensive blunder by Gebhardt. Phillips retired all six men that he faced following Marmolejos’ team-leading 13th double. Stevenson and Mejia each had a two-hit game for Potomac, while Davidson and Daris each had a pair of hits for the Mudcats.

Off of the walk-off loss, the P-Nats will turn to RHP Boone Whiting (3-1, 4.03) in an effort to level the series at a game apiece. For Carolina, 2015 5th round pick RHP Ryan Clark (0-3, 6.12) aims to bounce back from a four-earned run outing last time out vs. the Salem Red Sox. First pitch is set for 11:00am.

 
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