Potomac Nationals fall short again in loss to Sox

Potomac NationalsThe Potomac Nationals (16-13) found themselves on the comeback prowl for the second straight game against the Salem Red Sox (17-12) on Saturday Night, but the hits came too late in the 5-4 loss.

Salem started the scoring early in game two of the three-game series, putting runs on the board in each of the first two innings. SS Santiago Espinal connected on a solo home run (4) to lead off the game, putting the Red Sox up 1-0. The lead doubled in the second on LF Kyri Washington’s RBI single, his sixth RBI of the series.

The top of third is where the game got away from the P-Nats and starting pitcher Kyle McGowin (L, 0-1), as Salem scored three runs to push the lead to 5-0. After 2B Brett Netzer walked, 1B Jerry Downs was hit by pitch, and 3B Bobby Dalbec walked to load the bases, CF Tyler Hill hit a single to right field. P-Nat RF Juan Soto came up charging hard on the base hit, but misplayed the ball as it bounced under his glove and rolled all the way to the wall. All three batters scored on the play, with Hill getting credit for 2 runs batted in.

The P-Nats quickly answered Salem’s big inning, scoring a run in each of the next two innings. 3B Jake Noll drove in Soto with an RBI single off of RHP Daniel Gonzalez (W, 5-0) in the third to put the P-Nats on the scoreboard. SS Carter Kieboom picked up his 20th RBI of the season with a two-out single to cut the lead to 5-2.

Both teams traded scoreless frames for the next four innings, including a stretch in which RHP Ronald Pena and LHP Jordan Mills combined to retire 13 consecutive Salem hitters.

The scoreless relief pitching set the stage for the comeback effort for The Red, White, & Blue in the bottom of the ninth. Soto and Noll led off with a walk and a single, respectively, leading to an RBI single by 1B Ian Sagdal to make it a 5-3 game. Three batters later, 2B Bryan Mejia hit a two-out single to score Noll, pulling the P-Nats within one run. With the tying run on second and the winning run on first, Salem RHP Algenis Martinez (SV, 2) struck out DH Telmito Agustin to close out the ballgame.

The P-Nats certainly had their opportunities to put runs on the board throughout the game, as they out-hit Salem 11-4 and left 14 runners on-base.

After the loss on Saturday, the Potomac Nationals now stand one game behind the Salem Red Sox in the Carolina League Northern Division Standings. With the series victory already clinched for Salem, game three takes place tomorrow afternoon with RHP Wil Crowe (4-0, 3.25) matching up against LHP Darwinzon Hernandez (2-1, 3.60).

First pitch on Sunday afternoon is set for 1:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 12:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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