Potomac Nationals, Wilmington Blue Rocks fight rain again
The Potomac Nationals (9-9) and Wilmington Blue Rocks (9-10) finished one of their two scheduled games on Thursday before being suspended due to rain in Game Two. The P-Nats took Game One 4-3, and the two teams are deadlocked at a run apiece in the sixth inning in the suspended Game Two.
The hero in Game One was 2B Tony Renda who knocked in a run with a line drive single in the bottom of the ninth to win the game for the Nationals off Blue Rocks’ RHP Zeb Sneed (L, 3-2). Renda took a 3-0 fastball to left field scoring C Pedro Severino on the play.
The P-Nats struck first in the first two innings taking an early 3-1 lead. Renda put a pair of sacrifice flies into center field in each inning to knock in MLB-rehabber CF Eury Perez both times. RF Estarlin Martinez collected an RBI in the first as well scoring SS Stephen Perez.
RHP Dakota Bacus allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings in his outing for Potomac. C Zane Evans blasted a solo home run to left-center field in the second frame. Two more runs came in to tie the game at three in the third on a 3B Cody Dent error off the bat of 1B Mark Threlkeld.
RHP Gilberto Mendez (W, 5-3) tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to put himself in line for the win. At one point in the game, LHP Sean Manaea and Sneed combined to set down 13 P-Nats in a row. Bacus and Mendez retired the final ten Blue Rocks’ batters.
Game Two started with a pair of outstanding pitching performances from starters RHP Blake Schwartz and LHP Brandon Finnegan. Finnegan made his first professional start on Thursday after being selected 17th overall by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 MLB draft. Apart from a lone error on SS Raul Mondesi in the third inning, the two pitchers tossed four innings each without allowing any other baserunners. The no-no and perfecto were broken up in the fifth on singles by C Cam Gallagher and 2B Khayyan Norfork respectively.
Estarlin Martinez broke the scoreless drought in the fifth inning with an infield single that plated the speedy Norfork all the way from second base. Wilmington responded in the top of the sixth when LF Terrence Gore scored on a Mondesi sacrifice fly.
The rain came in the bottom of the sixth with two P-Nats on base and two outs immediately after a Wilmington pitching change. Norfork will step to the plate in the resumption of the suspended game on Wednesday, July 16th against Blue Rocks’ hurler Kyle Bartsch.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, which is accessible at www.potomacnationals.com, will broadcast the first game of a four game series at Frederick on Friday, July 11th. Broadcast coverage will begin with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 6:45pm in preparation for the 7:00pm start. The P-Nats will send RHP Austin Voth (1-0, 0.47) to the mound while Frederick will throw RHP Branden Kline (5-3, 3.83).