Potomac Nationals split two with Winston-Salem

potomac nationalsOn a night where 1,000 fans received a Jayson Werth Bobblebeard, the Potomac Nationals (37-31, 20-14) split Saturday night’s doubleheader with the Winston-Salem Dash (30-38, 14-20). Each team overcame a deficit in their wins to split the doubleheader and tie the series at two games apiece.

Game One was a thrilling battle between the two teams that culminated in the seventh and final inning. The P-Nats rally came against RHP Braulio Ortiz (L, 0-6) who surrendered three runs in the inning. 3B Khayyan Norfork and CF Will Piwnica-Worms reached base with one out to start the rally.

Randolph Oduber, who pinch ran for Piwnica-Worms, stole second base to put the tying run at second. With two outs and the bases loaded, C Pedro Severino singled to right-center field to tie the game at six. LF Jeff Kobernus was the next batter up, and he dribbled a ball through the middle scoring RF Estarlin Martinez to give Potomac their eighth walk off win of the season.

LHP Matthew Spann allowed four earned runs in his 5.1 innings start. Spann allowed four runs (three earned) in the sixth inning when six straight Dash batters reached base. RF Jason Coats knocked home two runs with a single, and 3B Grant Buckner and 1B Keon Barnum supplied RBI’s in the inning as well.

RHP Gilberto Mendez (W, 4-3) fanned the first four batters he saw in relief of Spann. He allowed a run on a wild pitch in the seventh, but kept it close enough to earn the win.

The top three hitters in the P-Nats lineup (Kobernus, SS Stephen Perez and 2B Tony Renda) finished out the game a combined four-for-four with three walks in their final seven plate appearances. Kobernus and Renda each had two RBI’s in the game with Perez picking up one as well.

Dash manager Tommy Thompson was ejected in the third inning after baserunner CF Jacob May was called out on an appeal play after he tagged up to second base.

Game Two was just as tight as the Dash edged the P-Nats 5-4 to split the twin bill.

RHP Ronald Pena started the game for Potomac but had to exit just a third of an inning into the game with soreness after coming off the DL just a few days ago. Pena gave up two runs on three hits and a four-pitch walk before exiting the game in the first. RHP Ian Dickson picked up his fallen teammate with a superb 5.2 innings. Dickson struck out eight without allowing a run.

Potomac grabbed both runs back in the bottom of the first frame off RHP Frank Montas. After a double-steal that brought Renda and Piwnica-Worms to second and third respectively, Montas threw a wild pitch that caromed to the Dash dugout. Renda scored easily, and the hustle of Piwnica-Worms around third tied the game to score two on the play.

The scoring halted until the fifth inning when 3B Justin Miller scored on a Perez double giving the Nats a 3-2 lead.

The Dash completed their own comeback performance by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh off of RHP Robert Benincasa (BS, L, 4-2). With the bases loaded twice, Jacob May and Jason Coats each grounded out to successfully bring home a run.

The never say die Nats would not go easily though. With one out in the inning, Randolph Oduber belted his first home run of the year to dead centerfield off Montas to tie the game.

After a scoreless eighth, Jacob May led off the ninth with a double. He was positioned to third with a sacrifice bunt and then came home to score on a two strike, two out wild pitch by Benincasa. RHP Kyle Hansen (W, 3-3) shut the door in the ninth to seal the win.

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