Potomac Nationals drop home opener

potomac nationalsA stellar start by Wilmington Blue Rocks RHP Pedro Fernandez (W, 1-0) ruined the 2016 home opener for the Potomac Nationals as Fernandez allowed just one run on three hits over six innings in his first win of the season. The Blue Rocks plated a run in each of the first two innings and never trailed in the win.

RHP Wirkin Estevez (L, 0-1) bounced back after he departed his first start of the season with an injury and made it through four innings in his bounce back from his second Tommy John surgery. An error by Potomac 2B Bryan Mejia led to an RBI single by 3B Wander Franco in the first inning and the Blue Rocks never looked back. Wilmington added another run in the second on an RBI groundout by DH Roman Collins.

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the second inning, the P-Nats got on the board with a double by DH Khayyan Norfork and a sacrifice fly by LF Alec Keller. The Nationals were kept off of the scoreboard until the ninth inning, where they left the tying run in the on-deck circle.

Estevez allowed four runs, three earned, over four innings. The righty struck out three and walked two in his second start of the season. Estevez walked C Chad Johnson with one out in the fourth inning and gave up a single to SS Humberto Arteaga. With two men on and one out, 2B Corey Toups brought home a run with a double to centerfield, and a misplay by Potomac CF Andrew Stevenson allowed an additional run to score, as Wilmington led 4-1 after 3.5 innings.

The score remained 4-1 until both teams scored in the ninth. Prior to the ninth, the Potomac bullpen continued its strong start, as RHP Derek Self went three shutout innings, while RHP Jake Johansen walked one in a scoreless eighth. In the top of the ninth however, RHP Justin Thomas allowed a two-run home run to RF Elier Hernandez, a pair of insurance runs that made it 6-1 Blue Rocks.

The Nationals plated a run in the bottom of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Norfork, but left the tying run on-deck, as C Matt Reistetter grounded out to third base to end the game.

Potomac had just five hits, a season low for the Nationals. Norfork continued his hot hitting with a pair of hits, as the three-year veteran continues to lead the Carolina League in BA, OBP, and SLG.

In an effort to even up the series, the Nationals will send RHP Erick Fedde (0-0, 4.50) to the hill for his second start vs. the Blue Rocks this season. Opposite the highly ranked prospect in Washington’s system will be LHP Matt Tenuta (0-0, 5.79) who struggled in his first start of the season vs. Potomac. First pitch at Pfitzner Stadium is set for 7:05 Friday night, as kids can run the bases at The Pfitz after the conclusion of the game.

The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Potomac Nationals 2016 season tickets, mini plans, and single game tickets are now on sale.

Sponsorship opportunities for the 2016 season and beyond are available. Corporate outing reservations for the 2016 season to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz may be placed now as the P-Nats offer discounted group ticket rates and all-inclusive picnics. Visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office at 703-590-2311 for more information!

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