Timely hitting leads Potomac Nationals to 9-5 win
The Potomac Nationals (8-6) were in control from the very first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Salem Red Sox (8-6), scoring five runs in the opening frame en route to a 9-4 victory in the rubber match of the three-game series.
All nine P-Nats batters stepped to the plate in the first inning against LHP Darwinzon Hernandez (L, 1-1), reaching on three walks, a hit by pitch, and two base hits to give Potomac a 5-0 lead. 1B Jake Noll, who would finish 2-for-4 on the day, got the scoring started with an RBI single, plating CF Blake Perkins for the first run of the day. After RF Jack Sundberg walked with the bases loaded to force in a run, Hernandez was pulled from the game after lasting only .2 innings in his third start of the year for Salem. RHP Hildemaro Raquena didn’t fare much better against the Potomac offense, immediately firing a wild pitch to score Noll from third base, and then letting up a two-out, two-run single from 2B Bryan Mejia to cap off the inning.
Salem was quick to answer in their half of the inning, however. Against RHP Tyler Mapes (W, 2-0), the Red Sox scored three runs on two walks and two hits. 1B Jerry Downs drove in two with an RBI single, allowing LF Ryan Scott to follow with an RBI groundout to make it a 5-3 game after one inning of play.
Mapes would settle in nicely after the hectic first inning, allowing just three hits and no runs over the next five frames of work. Tyler Mapes picked up his first quality start of the season for the P-Nats, allowing three runs over six innings, while striking out four batters and walking three.
With the lead still standing at two, the P-Nats tacked on four more runs in the top of the fifth against Requena. 3B David Masters and Sundberg ripped back-to-back singles, scoring one run a piece, and would come around to score on a two-RBI single from Mejia. Mejia finished the day 2-for-4 with a season-high four runs batted in.
RHP Jorge Pantoja (SV, 1) entered in the seventh and held onto the lead for the final three innings to pick up his first save of the season. The Red Sox did score a run in both the eighth and ninth innings against Pantoja, a solo home run from 3B Bobby Dalbec and an RBI single from CF Trenton Kemp, but could not generate a big enough rally to steal another late victory.
With today’s win, The P-Nats leave Salem tied atop the standings in the Carolina League Northern Division with an 8-6 record.
The Potomac Nationals return home on Thursday for the start of a four game series against the Lynchburg Hillcats. RHP Wil Crowe (2-0, 3.60) will get the ball for the P-Nats, looking to build off of two straight five-inning outings that led to Potomac victories. As for the Hillcats, LHP Tanner Tully (1-0, 1.50) will make his third start of the season, his first against the P-Nats.
First pitch on Thursday 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.