P-Nats swept with 3-2 loss to Wilmington

p-natsAfter a perfect 8-0 record in the first half at Frawley Stadium, the Potomac Nationals (66-56, 32-21) wrapped up a four-game series at the home of the Wilmington Blue Rocks (47-76, 21-34) with a fourth consecutive loss to the home team. The sweep was the first of the season for the Blue Rocks, as Potomac finished a seven-game road trip at 1-6.

It was another offensive struggle for Potomac, as the P-Nats did not get on the board until the sixth inning, one night after the Blue Rocks shut them out 1-0. RHP Corey Ray (W, 7-6) allowed just one unearned run over seven innings, as he picked up his second win of the season vs. Potomac.

Opposite Ray, RHP Austen Williams (L, 4-4) issued a season high four walks but allowed only three runs, two earned, over five innings. Williams gave up a single run in the fourth inning, the fifth frame, and the sixth, as the latter proved to be the difference in the 3-2 final.

Wilmington got the scoring started in the fourth inning. RF Elier Hernandez, who had a walk-off RBI singleWednesday night, reached on a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning. After a single by C Chad Johnson moved Hernandez to third base, DH Robert Pehl made it 1-0 Wilmington with an RBI single.

After the P-Nats went scoreless through the fifth inning, extending their scoreless streak to 16 frames, the Blue Rocks added a run in the bottom of the inning against Williams. CF Cody Jones led off the inning with a single back to the mound, which Williams did not handle cleanly. Williams then threw it past 1B David Masters, as an error allowed Jones to get to second base. After 2B Austin Bailey flied out to right field and moved Jones to third base, 1B Samir Duenez walked and LF Brandon Downes made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Potomac finally got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning with help from the Wilmington defense and a pair of wild pitches. Schrock reached on a fielder’s choice groundout and moved to second base as C Raudy Read was safe on a fielding error by 3B Mike Hill. A wild pitch with two outs moved the runners to second and third base.SS Bryan Mejia struck out on a pitch in the dirt, but the offering from Ray got past C Chad Johnson and allowed Schrock to score. RF Drew Vettleson grounded out as Ray escaped without any further damage. It was the lone run that the Wilmington starter surrendered in the victory.

The Blue Rocks answered right back in the bottom of the inning and scored what turned out to be the winning run. Williams faced two batters in the inning and gave up two hits, a single to Hernandez and a double to Johnson. With men at second and third and no outs, RHP Gilberto Mendez came in for Williams and gave up an RBI single to Pehl. Mendez then got SS Carlos Diaz to ground into a double play and retired Bailey to keep it a two-run game.

The P-Nats threatened in each of the final two frames and left the tying run in scoring position in each inning. Schrock and Read drew consecutive two-out walks in the eighth inning against LHP Brennan Henry, and Mejia made it a one-run game with an RBI single. With men at first and second, RHP Todd Eaton (SV, 1) got Vettleson to fly out to centerfield on one pitch to end the inning. In the ninth, 3B Austin Davidson led off with a walk, while Osvaldo Abreu pinch ran at first base. CF Dale Carey popped out on a bunt attempt, Masters flied out to right field, CF Victor Robles walked, but Eaton struck out LF Alec Keller to complete the four-game sweep, as Wilmington won 3-2.

Off of a 1-6 road trip, the P-Nats return home to Pfitzner Stadium to begin a six-game homestand over the next week. Friday night, RHP J.D. Martin (0-0, 4.50) will make his second start of the season for Potomac, as the P-Nats host the Frederick Keys. For the Keys, RHP Franderlin Romero (5-4, 6.06) will get the start in the series opener. First pitch is set for 7:05pm.

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