P-Nats two-hit in 4-2 loss to Buies Creek

Potomac NationalsDespite a quality start from LHP Matthew Crownover (L, 3-5), the Potomac Nationals (36-30) fell 4-2 on Saturday night to the Buies Creek Astros (37-31). Crownover allowed three runs over six innings, but Potomac’s offense managed just two hits against a combination of three pitchers for the Astros. RF Rhett Wiseman reached base three times in the loss, the only player for Potomac that reached base more than once.

RHP Gabriel Valdez (W, 3-3) spun a gem for the Astros. The right-handed pitcher allowed just one hit over seven-shutout frames. Valdez struck out six and walked two in his second victory over Potomac in 2018.

After three scoreless frames from both sides, Buies Creek put the first non-zero on the scoreboard. LF Osvaldo Duarte led off the fourth inning with his league-leading seventh triple of the season. After 3B Abraham Toro walked, DH Ronnie Dawson made it 1-0 with a fielder’s choice to first base. While Crownover then induced a double play from 1B Jake Adams, RF Corey Julks made it 2-0 with a two-out RBI hit. An inning later, the Astros made it 3-0 on a solo home run from SS Jonathan Arauz.

Buies Creek took the 3-0 lead into the eighth frame, where both teams scored. The Astros got a run against LHP Ben Braymer on a double by CF Jacob Meyers, a passed ball by C Tres Barrera, and an RBI single from Toro. In the home half of the frame, Potomac scored its only runs of the night, as a bases loaded single from SS Carter Kieboom pulled Potomac within three runs, and an RBI groundout from DH Alec Keller made it 4-2 Buies Creek. With the tying runners in scoring position, the Astros went to RHP Ronel Blanco (SV, 4) out of the bullpen, who got 3B Jake Noll to fly out and end the inning.

In the final frame, Blanco issued a two-out walk to Wiseman, but got SS David Masters to swing at strike three, which ended the ballgame. With just two hits, the top-ranked scoring offense in the Carolina League set a new low for hits in a game in 2018.

With an opportunity to head into the All-Star break off of a series victory, Potomac will turn to RHP Sterling Sharp (4-3, 3.30) on Sunday afternoon. Last time out, Sharp tossed his best start of the season, as he did not give up a run over seven innings against the Salem Red Sox. For Buies Creek, RHP Brandon Bailey (2-6, 3.08) will aim to earn the Astros a series split. Bailey has allowed just one total earned run over his last four outings.

First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Sunday is set for 1:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 12:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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