Wiseman’s heroics not enough for P-Nats in 5-4 loss to Winston-Salem
Up after half an inning 3-0, tying the game on a home run in the seventh, and with the tying run at third base with one out in the ninth, the Potomac Nationals (61-51, 24-21) fell 5-4 to the Winston-Salem Dash (69-45, 28-16) in the series opener between the two Carolina League First Half Champions on Friday night. Despite two late extra-base hits from RF Rhett Wiseman, and the fifth consecutive multi-hit game from SS Luis Garcia, the P-Nats failed to push across the tying run in the final frame.
Potomac jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as RHP Blake Battenfield (W, 5-2) struggled mightily in his first inning of work. The first three Potomac hitters tallied a hit, as Garcia’s RBI single made it 1-0 Potomac just two batters into the game, while 1B Aldrem Corredor and DH Nick Basto each picked up a RBI in the frame.
With a 3-0 lead before he took the mound, RHP Kyle Johnston (ND) likewise struggled in the first inning, though more with command than Battenfield, as he only gave up one hit in a two-run inning. CF Luis Robert walked to begin the frame, while Johnston hit 2B Nick Madrigal with a pitch, and then walked RF Blake Rutherford, which loaded the bases. C Yermin Mercedes pulled the Dash within a run with a two-run single, but Johnston got 1B Gavin Sheets to ground into an inning-ending double play, which kept Potomac on top 3-2.
Battenfield settled down in strong fashion after the opening frame, as he allowed just two more hits over his seven-inning outing. Sagdal singled off of the right-handed starter in the third inning, while Wiseman notched a game-tying home run with one out in the top of the seventh inning.
Johnston had another shaky inning in the third, as an error by Sagdal allowed Robert to reach to begin the frame. On a stolen base attempt of second base, the throw from C Jakson Reetz went into the outfield, which allowed Robert to advance to third base, and eventually score on a wild pitch. Johnston then walked Madrigal, one of four walks on the night for the Potomac starter, gave up a single to Rutherford, and issued a walk to Mercedes. With the bases loaded, Sheets made it 4-3 with a sacrifice fly, and despite hitting SS Laz Rivera, Johnston stranded the bases loaded. Johnston allowed four runs, two earned, over five innings.
Both sides went scoreless through the middle third of the series opener, while both teams connected on a solo home run in the seventh inning. With one out, Wiseman tied the game with his 20th home run of the season, but RHP A.J. Bogucki (L, 3-2) surrendered a one-out solo home run in the home half of the inning to LF Luis Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s fifth home run of the season proved to be the difference in the game.
The Dash went to RHP Tyler Johnson (SV, 3) for the ninth inning, who quickly struck out Basto. Wiseman then stepped in and nearly tied the game with a long ball once again, but settled for a triple to right-centerfield. With the infield drawn in and only one out, Johnson got Reetz to pop out to Madrigal. Down to one final out, CF Jack Sundberg hit a soft ground ball to the right of Madrigal, but the Dash second baseman got the speedy outfielder at first base by less than half a step and ended the game.
Off of consecutive losses for the first time since July 26th, Potomac will try to avoid a third straight loss for the first time since early July, as RHP Joan Baez (7-8, 4.25) is set to take the mound. Baez is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his last three starts. For the Dash, RHP Alec Hansen (Debut) will make his first Carolina League start of the season. Hansen posted a 2.93 ERA in 11 starts for the Dash in 2017, but went 0-4 with a 6.56 ERA in nine starts for Double-A Birmingham earlier in 2018.
First pitch at BB&T Ballpark on Saturday is set for 6:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 5:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com, at http://bit.ly/P-NatsBroadcast, or on the TuneIn Radio App.