Speed burns Potomac in 2-1 loss
Out of the All-Star break, the Wilmington Blue Rocks (32-39, 1-0) overmatched the Potomac Nationals (37-31, 0-1) with speed on the basepaths in a 2-1 Blue Rocks victory. Wilmington stole five bases in the win, and on three of them, a throwing error by C Jakson Reetz advanced a runner to third base. While the first two didn’t lead to a run, the final one led to the eventual game-winning run.
In the first game since a trade sent CF Blake Perkins from the Nationals’ farm system to that of the Kansas City Royals, the former Potomac Nationals’ outfielder reached base four times and scored both runs for the Blue Rocks. Perkins singled to open the game, and then scored on a single from RF Khalil Lee, then singled in the seventh inning, stole second base, took third base on the third throwing error of the game by Reetz, and scored on a wild pitch by RHP Jorge Pantoja (L, 0-4).
With the start out of the break, RHP Joan Baez (ND) touched 95 MPH multiple times in the first inning, but ended up with a no-decision. Baez walked four and struck out six over six frames, as he notched his second straight quality start. The right-handed starter stranded six runners on base over the first three innings, but allowed just one man to reach base over his final three frames.
Similar to Baez, RHP Anthony Bender (W, 5-2) struggled in the first half of his six-inning outing, but settled in after that. Bender allowed a single and walked a batter in the first inning, but C Meibrys Viloria picked of 2B Bryan Mejia at first base and caught CF Jack Sundberg stealing at second base, as Bender faced the minimum in the opening frame
In the home half of the second inning, RF Rhett Wiseman drew a leadoff walk, took second base on a wild pitch, and later scored on a sacrifice fly from 1B Aldrem Corredor. In his Carolina League debut, Corredor picked up Potomac’s lone RBI, but hit into two double plays, the latter of which ended the game.
Out of the Wilmington bullpen, RHP Ofreidy Gomez (SV, 1) worked three-shutout innings. After LF Nick Banks singled with one out in the seventh inning, Gomez retired SS David Masters. With two outs, DH Edwin Lora doubled into the left field corner, but LF Nick Heath, SS Angelo Castellano, and Viloria executed a relay throw and tag at the plate to perfection, as they retired Banks at the plate. Gomez then set down the side in order in the eighth frame, and faced the minimum due to the double play in the ninth inning.
Off the loss to open up the second half, the P-Nats will turn to LHP Ben Braymer (2-1, 2.45) on Friday night. The left-handed starter did not allow a run over six innings in his only other start of a season, a win over the Salem Red Sox on 6/11. For the Blue Rocks, RHP Gerson Garabito (2-5, 4.30) will take the mound for the fifth time against Potomac this season. Garabito is 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA vs. the P-Nats thus far in 2018.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field on Friday 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.