Potomac Nationals blanked by Wilmington, 5-0
It took 21 games of offense before the Potomac Nationals (11-10) failed to plate a run. Thursday night with a chance at a series weep, the P-Nats failed to score in a 5-0 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (9-11).
Potomac put a runner on base in every inning but the fourth, put a runner in scoring position in six of the nine frames, and a man on third base five times in the loss. The P-Nats went just 1-11 with RISP and left 14 men on base.
The Blue Rocks struck first, as Potomac saw an early deficit for the seventh straight game. After three scoreless innings, LHP Matthew Crownover (L, 1-2) ran into trouble in the bottom of the fourth. 3B Emmanuel Rivera led off the frame with a single, while LF Brandon Downes followed with a two-run home run. In Downes’ first game of 2018, his home run proved to be the game-winning hit.
Three innings later, the Blue Rocks put the game away with two runs against RHP Steven Fuentes. Wilmington loaded the bases with no outs, and despite two potential double play ground outs, the Potomac infield failed to convert on either. RF Khalil Lee made it 4-0 with an RBI ground out, while Rivera finished off the night’s scoring with an RBI single.
RHP Arnaldo Hernandez (W, 2-0) was effective, but less than efficient over five innings for Wilmington. He walked two batters and gave up four hits, but stranded three men in scoring position. LHP Vance Tatum gave up four hits, walked a batter, and hit a batter, but worked magic to escape with two scoreless innings. RHP Justin Camp finished off the game for Wilmington, as the righty allowed one hit over two scoreless innings.
All nine Potomac starters reached base at least once, while seven of the nine starters tallied at least one hit. RF Juan Soto tripled, his second extra-base hit in as many games. The 19-year-old finished his first Carolina League series 3-15 with a home run, a triple, and three RBIs.
Off of a series win, Potomac will head down to Lynchburg, VA for the first time this season. In the series opener on Thursday night, RHP Sterling Sharp (1-2, 4.66) is set to start for Potomac. Sharp allowed three runs over six innings in a loss to Lynchburg last time out. For the Hillcats, RHP Jake Paulson (2-1, 2.20) will make his second consecutive start against the P-Nats. Paulson allowed just one run over seven innings in a win over the P-Nats on 4/21.
First pitch at Calvin Falwell Field on Friday night is set for 6:30pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:15pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.