Whiting returns with gem: P-Nats win, 4-1
Behind a dominant return from RHP Boone Whiting (W, 9-2), and a pair of two-run innings, the Potomac Nationals (60-48, 26-14) took down the Lynchburg Hillcats (70-40, 25-15) in the series finale at Calvin Falwell Field Wednesday night. The P-Nats scored a pair of runs in the third inning and another pair in the sixth frame in route to a 4-1 win.
After five starts with the Harrisburg Senators, Whiting returned to Potomac and won for the sixth time in his last nine starts with the P-Nats. Whiting allowed only one run on seven hits, as the right-handed starter struck out five and did not walk a batter over 6.1 innings.
Opposite Whiting, RHP Matt Esparza (L, 0-2) saw his defense plague him in a two-run third inning. C Matt Reistetter reached to start the inning on a fielding error by 1B Bobby Bradley. After CF Dale Carey walked,LF Alec Keller reached on a sacrifice bunt, as the throw by C Francisco Mejia went into left field. Mejia’s error allowed Reistetter to score. Two batters later, 2B Max Schrock drove in Carey with an RBI groundout.
The Hillcats cut the deficit to one with their only run of the game, as they rallied with two outs vs. Whiting in the bottom of the third. SS Mark Mathias doubled over the head of Keller in left field and scored on a single by Mejia. Mejia’s base hit extended his hit streak to 45 games. Potomac led 2-1 after three innings.
Potomac put the game away with two runs in the sixth inning, as the P-Nats loaded the bases with no outs against Esparza. Two singles and a walk brought DH Austin Davidson to the plate, but Davidson fouled out to Mejia behind the plate, which ended Esparza’s night. RHP Justin Garcia entered and gave up a sacrifice fly to Reistetter, while Carey followed with an RBI single. Carey’s single wrapped up the scoring and made it 4-1 Potomac, the eventual final.
Out of the Potomac bullpen, RHP Neil Holland retired all five men that he faced, while RHP Ryan Brinley(SV, 11) worked a scoreless ninth inning in his return to Potomac. The P-Nats won despite not tallying an extra base hit. With the win, Potomac stands one game ahead of Lynchburg in the Northern Division and eight games ahead of the Frederick Keys for a playoff spot.
Returning home, the P-Nats will host the Wilmington Blue Rocks for a four game series at Pfitzner Stadium.Thursday night, RHP Dakota Bacus (1-2, 3.45) is set to take the mound for Potomac, while LHP Foster Griffin (2-7, 6.92) is scheduled to start for the Blue Rocks. First pitch Thursday night is set for 7:05pm.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will carry live coverage Thursday night beginning with the “P-Nats Leadoff Show” at 6:50pm. P-Nats Gameday Audio on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network is available at www.potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.