Potomac starter Robbie Ray cruised through the first two innings striking out five of the seven batters he faced. Ray had a 10 pitch second inning where he struck out the side. Wilmington did get to Ray in the third. With two outs and no one on, Whit Merrifield worked a walk then stole second. Geulin Beltre lined a single to center that scored Merrifild to give Wilmington a 1-0 lead.
Wilmington hurler Yordano Ventura was excellent for the Blue Rocks tossing four scoreless frames. The P-Nats got to him in the fifth. With two outs, Kevin Keyes stole second base. He then scored on a Blake Kelso single to tie the contest 1-1. Ventura did not get a decision pitching five innings striking out nine while allowing just one run on four hits and a walk.
Ray was very sharp as well as he struck out a season-high nine batters. He was relieved in the sixth inning by Rob Wort who got out of a two-on jam to keep the score tied 1-1.
The P-Nats took their first lead of the series in the seventh with Justin Bloxom smacking a double to left-center to start the frame. The next batter Kevin Keyes knocked in Bloxom on a single to centerfield and Potomac led 2-1.
But, for the first time this season with a lead late, the bullpen tandem of Wort and Cameron Selik could not close out a win with a lead after the seventh inning. In the eighth, Wort walked Brian Fletcher on four pitches to start the inning then Cheslor Cuthbert knocked a one-out single to put runners at the corners with one out. Selik replaced Wort and the first batter he faced was Roman Hernandez who hit a ground-rule double to left scoring Fletcher to even the score 2-2. Next up was Alex McClure who laced a single against a drawn in infield to center scoring both Cuthbert and Hernandez to give the Blue Rocks their first lead of the game 4-2.
Nick Rogers tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth to preserve the win for Wilmington. It was just the second 1-2-3 inning for Potomac in the game. Rogers (1-0) struck out three over two innings. Wilmington as a team struck out 14 Nationals.
Wort (0-2) took the loss giving up his first earned run sine April 17th at Frederick. Selik blew a save for the first time in six chances this season.
The Nationals wrap up their series with Wilmington tomorrow at 11:05 AM with LHP Matt Grace (2-5, 7.34) getting the start for Potomac. The P-Nats return home on Monday for a seven-game home stand starting with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. For tickets to any P-Nats game, call us at 703-590-2311.