Potomac Nationals lose on controversial call, 3-2
A controversial call at first base by Base Umpire Travis Godec in the bottom of the 9th ended the Potomac Nationals’ (18-11, 9-5) Game Three series finale with the Frederick Keys (13-17, 10-8) on Wednesday evening at Pfitzner Stadium and gave the visiting club a 3-2 victory.
The Keys salvaged their first set of the 2014 season against their regional rivals after dropping the first two contests of the series.
Frederick RHP Branden Kline (3-1), the winning pitcher, was masterful through 6.0 scoreless innings in which he allowed just four scattered singles while walking one batter and fanning four.
Kline, a Frederick, Maryland native, allowed just one runner to get into scoring position during his time on the mound.
Pena gunned through 6.0 innings and gave up two earned runs, including a home run, on four base hits while walking one, fanning one, and hitting one batter.
In Pena’s seventh start, the Nationals lost just their first game in 2014 in which Pena was the starting pitcher.
Pena allowed a solo home run yanked over the left field fence on the first pitch of the game by Keys CF Glynn Davis, his first dinger of the campaign.
Frederick tallied an additional run in the 5th frame when SS Adrian Marin was hit by a Pena offering, 2B Tucker Nathans grounded a single into right field, and C Steel Russell chopped a 5-3 RBI groundout to bring home Marin and give the Keys a 2-0 lead.
Nationals RHP Travis Henke allowed one earned run in 1.2 innings out of the P-Nats bullpen. In the 8th inning, RF Lucas Herbst walked before DH Zane Chavez singled into right center-field. LF Michael Burgess then ripped a run-scoring single through the hole at second base to deliver Herbst and propel the Keys to a 3-0 advantage.
Nationals RHP Gilberto Mendez was very effective in freezing the P-Nats’ deficit by tossing 1.1 scoreless stanzas. Mendez fanned the side in the 9th inducing swing strikeouts of 3B Jason Esposito, Marin, and Nathans.
Frederick RHP Miguel Chalas went 2.1 innings out of the visiting ‘pen and ended up allowing a pair of runs in the 9th as the Nationals executed a furious cardiac rally.
To begin the bottom of the 9th, Chalas got SS Stephen Perez, who extended his on-base streak to 14 games with an infield single in the 1st, on a 2-3 groundout before DH Oscar Tejeda ripped an infield single behind the second base bag. RF Brandon Miller then swatted his eighth home run of the season, a lazer beam line drive missile to the right field corner to cut the Keys’ lead to 3-1. After Chalas exited stage left, RHP Matt Hauser (SV 2) came in and gave up a double bulleted off the right field wall by 1B Shawn Pleffner to represent the tying run. 2B Khayyan Norfork, against a drawn-in infield defense, hit a hard groundball right to Marin at shortstop that resulted in a 6-3 putout leading up the at-bat of 3B Adrian Sanchez.
Sanchez knocked a groundball towards the second base bag and went into a headfirst slide as Marin rushed the ball low to first base. As Keys 1B Creede Simpson was digging the baseball out, Sanchez appeared to already have his hands wrapped around the first base bag. Godec took one full step and punched out Sanchez to end the game at a 3-2 final score much to the distaste of the Potomac Nationals’ gallery.
Hauser earned his second save of the 2014 season.
Potomac begins a four-game series to complete a seven-game homestand tomorrow with the invading Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Texas Rangers) coming to Pfitzner Stadium.