P-Nats win fifth in a row in 10-inning thriller

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (24-19, 54-56) continued their knack for late inning heroics on Saturday night, defeating the Wilmington Blue Rocks (20-22, 64-47) by a score of 3-2 in ten innings for their season-high fifth straight victory.

After a sharp start from RHP Malvin Peña, the P-Nats were down to their final strike in the ninth when 3B Omar Meregildo drew a bases-loaded walk to force extras. With two outs in the tenth, LF Aldrem Corredor and C Jakson Reetz delivered run-scoring hits that withstood a late Blue Rocks rally to be the difference in the game.

Wilmington manufactured an early run against Peña in the first, getting a leadoff single from 2B Ricky Aracena and a stolen base before a productive out and a sacrifice fly from RF Blake Perkins to put the Blue Rocks up 1-0. Peña would rebound to pitch a quality start, allowing only one run on three hits over 6.0 innings.

Potomac squandered opportunities against LHP Josh Mitchell, leaving runners at third base three times in the first five innings. Wilmington patched together a bullpen game, getting 4.0 innings from Mitchell and 3.2 innings from LHP Josh Dye to take the 1-0 lead into the late innings.

RHP Angel Guillen tossed 1.2 scoreless innings in his P-Nats debut, and LHP Hayden Howard (W, 4-2) stranded a runner at third base in the eighth to keep the deficit at one run. In the ninth, the Blue Rocks sent All-Star closer RHP Tad Ratliff to the mound to seal the win, but the P-Nats loaded the bases with a Reetz double, a walk and a hit-by-pitch before Meregildo forced in the tying run with his walk on a 3-2 count.

In the top of the tenth, the P-Nats were unable to score their automatic baserunner until Corredor’s line drive single off RHP Collin Snider (L, 5-2) got past Aracena at second base with two outs. Reetz then doubled to right field to extend the lead to two, and Howard needed the extra run in the bottom of the tenth as he allowed a run to score before getting C MJ Melendez to fly out to the warning track in center field with the tying run at third to end the game.

The P-Nats go for their second straight sweep as they finish their series against the Blue Rocks on Sunday. LHP Carson Teel faces off against LHP Marcelo Martinez in the finale. First pitch at Frawley Stadium on Sunday is set for 1:35 p.m. with the P-Nats Leadoff Show beginning at 1:20. Fans can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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