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Potomac rallies, knocks off Carolina Mudcats, 4-3

potomac nationalsThe P-Nats (17-22-Overall, 9-10-Home) plated the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning and closed out their second consecutive one-run win in the 4-3 victory that clinched the series against the Carolina Mudcats (19-17-Overall, 6-9-Road) at Pfitzner Stadium on Wednesday night.

Potomac sent RHP Lucas Giolito (1-2, 4.67), who was still searching for his first win in a Red, White and Blue uniform, to the mound for his third start.

Giolito set the Mudcats down in order to begin the ballgame and LHP Blair Walters returned the favor in the bottom of the first.

Carolina got on the scoreboard first in the top of the second with one out when C Jose Briceño singled. RF Connor Oliver followed with a single that moved Briceño to second base. Giolito struck out CF Connor Lien for his first punch out of the game but then SS Johan Camargo hit an RBI single that scored Briceño for a 1-0 Carolina lead.

Potomac fired right back against Walters in the second on back-to-back singles from 3B Drew Ward and 1B John Wooten that put runners on first and second. 2B Khayyan Norfork came up and sliced a line drive down the right field line that scored both Ward and Wooten for a 2-1 Potomac advantage and he extended his hitting streak to six games.

The game remained 2-1 Potomac until the top of sixth inning. Giolito remained on the mound and struck out LF Keith Curcio to begin the frame. Unfortunately for the righty he fired a wild pitch on the final strike and Curcio was able to reach base safely. DH Sean Godfrey singled behind Curcio and 1B Joey Meneses followed with a two-run triple to push Carolina back out in front 3-2. Giolito, undaunted, proceeded to strike out the side, stranding Meneses at third base and fanning four in the inning.

Giolito finished with nine strikeouts over his season-high seven innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on six hits and no walks. Giolito earned his first win of the season and threw 87 pitches with 63 being strikes.

Potomac answered the call in the bottom of the sixth trailing 3-2 when SS Stephen Perez walked. He moved to second on a wild pitch by Walters and moved to third on an infield single by CF Isaac Ballou. C Spencer Kieboom came up and hit an infield single that he legged out allowing Perez to score and tie the game at 3-3 before Ward hit into an inning ending double play.

Walters was lifted prior to the Ward at-bat and finished with 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits, he walked two and struck out four. For Walters it was his longest outing of the season after beginning the year in the bullpen and he did not factor in the decision.

LHP Matt Marksberry (2-1, 4.00) induced the double play ball from Ward and then emerged for the seventh inning as well. He retired the first two hitters with ease and then RF Brandon Miller singled. Miller extended his hitting streak to five games before being pulled for a pinch runner in the form of OF Narciso Mesa. Marksberry proceeded to walk the next two hitters to load the bases and with Perez up he delivered a breaking ball that was headed for the back foot of switch hitter. It was ruled the ball hit Perez on the foot and Mesa came home to score the go-ahead run to make it 4-3 P-Nats.

RHP Derek Self came into the ballgame for Giolito and pitched a scoreless eighth inning before turning things over to RHP Cody Davis (SV 1) for his first save opportunity.

Davis walked 3B Carlos Franco to begin the ninth and Briceño followed with a fielder’s choice ball that Wooten threw into left field for an error that pushed Franco all the way to third and allowed Briceño to reach safely. The right fielder Oliver was up next and what happened was wild, Oliver hit a comebacker to Davis who checked Franco at third and threw to Perez at second base to retire Briceño. When Davis spun to throw, Franco broke for the plate causing Perez to throw back home to Kieboom. The ball beat Franco there by five feet and he was eventually tagged out in a rundown by Ward. During the rundown Oliver tried to advance into scoring position and Ward, after applying the tag to Franco, fired to Norfork at second base, who applied the tag to a sliding Oliver but it was just late and Carolina stayed out of what would have been a game ending triple play. Davis then punched out Lien to end the ballgame and notch his first save of 2015.

Potomac, with the victory tonight, has won the series and looks for a series sweep tomorrow night in the finale. It’s the first series win for the P-Nats since they defeated the Wilmington Blue Rocks two games to one on April 20th through April 22nd at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium in the first state.

Potomac, after back-to-back one-run victories are now 7-9 in such affairs and improve to 9-10 at The Pfitz. For the Mudcats the loss is their fifth in a row, the longest losing streak of the season.

The series finale with Carolina begins tomorrow night at 7:05 pm and Potomac will send the RHP John Simms (0-4, 5.60) to the mound against LHP Yean Carlos (0-6, 4.23).

The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will have the game starting at 6:50 pm with the The P-Nats Lead-Off Show and take you up to first pitch.

Tomorrow night is a Thursday Cheers night at Pfitzner Stadium presented by Yellow Cab and will feature discounted beverages all game long.