Potomac loses early lead in 9-4 defeat

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (10-12, 40-49) began their series finale against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (12-11, 33-57) in dominant form, scoring three first-inning runs and jumping out to a 4-0 lead. At the end of the night, however, the Pelicans came out on top by a score of 9-4 thanks to a six-run fourth and nine unanswered runs.

DH Cole Freeman collected his second straight three-hit game for the P-Nats, raising his season batting average to .312. He also added two more stolen bases, giving him 23 on the season and four in the past two games.

The game began with a single from RF Gage Canning, and Freeman followed with a bunt single of his own. Potomac took a 1-0 lead when the two speedy table-setters executed a double steal at the corners, with Canning coming home after a throw to second. Later in the inning, CF Jack Sundberg and SS Gilbert Lara hit back-to-back RBI doubles to extend the lead to 3-0. It was the first hit since April for Sundberg, who was activated from the Injured List on Wednesday.

Fresh off consecutive quality starts, RHP Malvin Peña (L, 5-5) started strong with eight outs before the Pelicans collected their first hit. In the top of the fourth, Freeman hit an RBI single to extend the Potomac lead to 4-0, but the momentum shifted in the bottom of the inning as the Pelicans bounced Peña from the game and took the lead for good with six runs.

A single and a walk started the frame before C Tyler Payne hit a three-run homer to draw to within a run. SS Aramis Ademan followed with a triple, and LF Grant Fennell promptly tied the game 4-4 with an RBI single. Peña was lifted for RHP Luis Reyes, who didn’t fare any better with three walks and an RBI double to RF Kevonte Mitchell.

Given a fresh start, RHP Javier Assad (W, 3-6) put up a zero in the fifth to qualify for the win. Potomac stranded 11 on base, but couldn’t scratch their way back into the game against RHP Enrique De Los Rios in long relief.

RHP Jeremy McKinney allowed an unearned run in the sixth on 2B Carlos Sepulveda’s sacrifice fly, and an earned run in the seventh on Payne’s second homer of the game. DH Wladimir Galindo doubled off RHP Jorge Pantoja in the eighth, and came around to score on a wild pitch to bring the score to its final 9-4. LHP Ryan Lawlor retired the P-Nats in order in the ninth to lock down the Pelicans win.

The P-Nats continue their six-game road trip on Saturday as they head to Fayetteville to take on the Woodpeckers. RHP Kyle Johnston gets the start in the opener of a three-game set. First pitch from Segra Stadium is set for 6:00 pm, with the P-Nats Leadoff Show starting at 5:45 on potomacnationals.com or the TuneIn Radio App.

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