Potomac Nationals hang on in scorching 4-3 win
Thanks to a three-run sixth inning, the Potomac Nationals (16-15, 46.52) picked up a 4-3 win over the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (14-17, 45-55) on a blistering Sunday afternoon. The P-Nats scored four times between the fifth and sixth frames, while Fayetteville left the tying runs on base in the eighth inning and had the tying run picked off at first base in the ninth frame.
LHP Nick Raquet (W, 6-8) notched another quality start for Potomac. Though the left-handed starter surrendered the game’s first run, he allowed just one more over six frames. Raquet put the Woodpeckers on top 1-0 on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and gave up a solo home run to SS Miguelangel Sierra in the sixth frame.
For the Woodpeckers, RHP Nivaldo Rodriguez (L, 3-4) worked out of a jam in each of his first two innings before he settled in. Potomac left two runners on base in both the first and second frames and then went in order in each of the next two innings.
The P-Nats tied the game on a defensive miscue in the home half of the fifth inning. With runners on first and second base and one out, CF Cole Freeman hit a routine ground ball to 1B Scott Schreiber. In an attempt to receive the throw and get the out at first base, Rodriguez missed the feed from Schreiber. Freeman got on base on the E1 while 2B Bryan Mejia scored from second base on the play. The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after five innings.
Sierra hit a one-out home run in the sixth inning, but Potomac answered with three runs in the home half of the frame. The first four batters that Rodriguez faced in the inning reached base, as Potomac tied the game on a bases loaded walk drawn by 3B Omar Meregildo. Rodriguez retired Mejia and then got LF Jack Sundberg to ground into a fielder’s choice out at the plate before the Woodpeckers went to the bullpen. RHP Riley Cabral entered from the Fayetteville bullpen for his Carolina League debut and immediately gave up a two-run single to Freeman, which gave Potomac a 4-2 lead. Freeman’s hit proved to be the eventual game-winner.
After six innings from Raquet, Potomac turned to the bullpen, as LHP Hayden Howard (SV, 2) worked the final three innings for the P-Nats. Howard erased a leadoff single with a pickoff in the seventh inning, surrendered a one-out triple to 2B Jeremy Pena in the eighth inning but stranded him at third base, and gave up a leadoff home run to Schreiber in the ninth frame. With Potomac up 4-3, C Scott Manea singled with one out in the final inning, but Howard picked off his second runner in three innings. RF Ross Adolph then drove a two-out fly ball to deep centerfield, but Freeman made the catch in front of the warning track, which secured Potomac’s 4-3 win.
With an opportunity at a series win on Monday night, LHP Tim Cate (2-2, 2.57) is scheduled to start for Potomac. After a shaky Carolina League debut, Cate is 2-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his last four starts, which includes a victory last time out over the Woodpeckers. For Fayetteville, RHP Austin Hansen (2-2, 4.15) is set to make his second consecutive start vs. Potomac. Last time out, Hansen allowed just one run on three hits over five innings but picked up the loss vs. the P-Nats.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium on Monday night is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.