Pitching pushes P-Nats

Sammy Solis was outstanding into the eighth inning and was again supported by early offense as the Potomac Nationals took an edge in their four-game series in Wilmington with a 5-1 victory Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium. A one-out double chased Solis in the eighth and plated the only run against the lefthander, but a steady start that featured a stretch of 13 consecutive hitters retired earned him a fourth victory in five tries with Potomac and moved the Nationals eight games ahead of the Blue Rocks in the Carolina League standings.

The Nationals (48-53) staked Solis to an early lead. Francisco Soriano led off the first inning with a walk, stole second and scored on Destin Hood’s single to right field. After Hood moved to second no a throwing error by Rocks’ starter Tyler Sample on a pickoff, Justin Bloxom hit a deep fly ball that appeared to clear the wall in left. It was called a double, however, and the Nats led 2-0.

Solis again struggled to settle into the game. In each of the first three innings, he allowed two men to reach base. But double plays in the first and third and consecutive strikeouts in the second helped him steer clear of trouble.

J.R. Higley hit a massive home run in the top of the fourth to stretch the lead, after which Solis took over. Including the twin-killer that ended the third, he retired 13 consecutive Blue Rocks (47-54), needing just 33 pitches to do so.

The P-Nats got two more runs in the sixth and ended Sample’s night. Three straight singles, combined with another throwing error on a pickoff, plated a run and chased Sample. With the bases loaded and one out, Eury Perez hit a high chopper to first that brought Sandy Leon home and made it 5-0 Potomac.

Gerard Hall’s double in the eighth scored Jose Bonilla, who had walked to open the inning. But Marcos Frias shut down Wilmington for an inning and two thirds and closed down the 5-1 win.

The Nationals will look to take three of four from Wilmington on Thursday. Paul Demny takes the mound for the Nationals at 12 P.M.

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