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P-Nats sweep doubleheader in walk-off fashion

The Potomac Nationals (47-58) used its third walk-off of the season to sweep a doubleheader against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (56-50) on Sunday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium. The P-Nats took game one 4-2 and walked off the Pelicans 3-2 in game two. OF Jack Sundberg hit a two-run walk off single in the bottom of the seventh of the second game to hand Myrtle Beach the doubleheader sweep.

p-natsIn game one, the P-Nats capitalized on several defensive miscues by the Pelicans. Myrtle Beach committed three errors in the first inning to allow three Potomac runs to score. OF Daniel Johnson doubled to begin the offense for The Red, White & Blue. Then, Sundberg grounded back to the pitcher RHP Thomas Hatch (L, 4-9) who overthrew second base on a fielder’s choice. A misplay on the errant throw by the centerfielder allowed Johnson to score and Sundberg to move all the way to third. Two batters later, INF Ian Sagdal singled in Sundberg to make it 2-0. C Jakson Reetz followed with a single to left field. Trying to throw out Sagdal going for third, the left fielder overthrew third base allowing the third Potomac run to score on the third Myrtle Beach error of the inning. The P-Nats led 3-0 after one.

Potomac extended the lead to four with an insurance tally in the bottom of the sixth on another Myrtle Beach defensive mishap. 1B Matt Page doubled to left to begin the inning and advanced to third on a wild pitch by LHP Tommy Thorpe on a INF Bryan Mejia walk. With runners on the corners, C P.J. Higgins’ passed ball allowed Page to score and gave the P-Nats a 4-0 lead.

RHP Luis Reyes (W, 7-10) picked up his second consecutive victory in his 21st start of the season. The right-hander finished five innings allowing five hits and three walks while punching out five. Reyes now has 112 strikeouts on the season.

The Pelicans did make it interesting in the final frame against RHP Gilberto Mendez. Myrtle Beach scored two and brought the tying run to the plate. But, Mendez settled down to get the final three outs and nail down the 4-2 victory.

In game two, Myrtle Beach came out fast against Potomac with a run in the first against starter RHP Nolan Sanburn. SS Zack Short singled and 2B Vimael Machin doubled to begin the game to put runners on second and third. DH Trent Giambrone put the Pelicans up 1-0 with a sacrifice fly to center.

After Sanburn finished just two inning, RHP Jorge Pantoja took over in the third. The right-hander allowed just one unearned run in the outing after an error on the shortstop and a wild pitch. Pantoja has not allowed an earned run in six consecutive outings and lowered his season ERA to 2.23 after allowing just one unearned run in three relief innings. However, Myrtle Beach remained in control 2-0 heading to the final inning.

But it was Potomac who had the last laugh on Sunday when Sundberg played hero with his first walk off for the P-Nats in 2017. With runners on first and second and one out against RHP Scott Effross (L, 5-2), the UCONN product drove a ball over the left fielder’s head to walk off the Pelicans. Mejia and Johnson scored from first and second on what would have been a double had Sundberg reached second base. However, the official scoring is a walk-off single as Potomac swept the doubleheader with a 3-2 triumph.

The walk-off hit was the third for Potomac this season and it’s second on a Sunday in 2017. The last time the P-Nats walked off was against Frederick on the Fourth of July. For Sundberg, it was his first career walk-off hit. With the doubleheader sweep, The Red, White & Blue finished with a 3-1 series win, their second in two tries against the Pelicans.

The P-Nats finish the home stand with a three-game series against the Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland Indians) beginning on Monday night from The Pfitz. Potomac pitches RHP Austen Williams (1-3, 4.42) in the opener against top Indians’ pitching prospect RHP Triston McKenzie (9-5, 3.31) for the Hillcats. This series marks the final time Lynchburg will play at The Pfitz in 2017.