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05/15/2009 10:37 PM ET
Milone Mows Down Pelicans in Opener
Michael Burgess went 4-for-4 at the plate and launched his team-leading seventh home run of the season in Friday's 4-0 win against Myrtle Beach. (Deborah L. Heckman)

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC- With so many Potomac Nationals starting pitchers hurling shutouts left and right in the past few weeks, lefty Tom Milone became part of a numbers crunch as he was temporarily moved to the bullpen after a scorching start to the season when he gave up just one run in his first 11 1/3 innings on the mound. Given a spot start by manager Trent Jewett last week and another against Myrtle Beach Friday night, Milone has now taken a stranglehold on a spot and is making it difficult if not impossible for Jewett to remove him.

Milone (3-2) tossed a career-high eight shutout innings, the most for a P-Nats pitcher this season, as he thoroughly dominated the Pelicans in Myrtle Beach en route to a 4-0 Potomac victory. Milone also struck out a season-high seven batters in the process. He kept the Pelican batters off balance with a steady diet of breaking balls and pinpoint command of a two-seam fastball that he painted on both the inside and outside corners of the plate.

The 4-0 shutout was the P-Nats' seventh of the season as they trail only Kinston in team ERA in the Carolina League.

The early innings were riddled with missed opportunities for the P-Nats as they left seven men on base through the first four innings, including scratching out only one run on a Sean Rooney groundout as they loaded the bases twice in the second inning off Pelican starter Cole Rohrbough (1-1).

The P-Nats would get all the offense they would need from Michael Burgess and Dan Nelson.

Burgess had himself a grand day at the plate, going 4-for-4 to raise his average 27 points on the day. Burgess came into the game with only six total hits against left-handed pitching this season, but stroked three singles off southpaws in the game. He became the third P-Nat to record four hits in a game this season following Tim Pahuta and Rooney, and he highlighted his day by blasting a titanic tater off the home clubhouse situated 30 feet beyond the right field fence in the fifth inning to make it a 2-0 game. The home run was his team-leading seventh of the season.

Nelson also added some pop to the bottom of the lineup, reaching base all four times Friday night including a clutch, two-out, two-RBI double off the left-center field wall in the eighth inning to make it a 4-0 ballgame.

The game ball, however, goes to Milone who proved that he has regained his form of the beginning of the season and will look to take the ball when his name is called.

These two teams will square off again Saturday night from BB&T Coastal Field as Colton Willems looks to continue his solid run of success in his third Carolina League start. He will face lefty Jose Ortegano for the Pelicans. You can hear all the action live from www.potomacnationals.com with Dan McGinn and Anthony Masterson with the pregame show starting at 6:45 ET.

For more information on tickets, daily promotions, and all things P-Nats, call (703) 590-2311 or log onto www.potomacnationals.com to join the party!

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.