Woodbridge, VA- The P-Nats (2-3-Overall, 2-3-Home) scored a run in the ninth inning to make it a 4-3 ball game and had the tying run at the plate only to be turned away for the second one-run loss of the season, falling to Winston-Salem (2-3-Overall, 2-3-Road) at The Pfitz by that final on Monday night.
LHP Matthew Spann (0-1, 7.20) made his season debut, facing off against the Southern Division's Winston-Salem Dash on Monday to begin a three game series.
On the other side of the diamond for the Dash was RHP Matt Heidenreich (1-0, 1.60), also making his season debut for Winston-Salem.
P-Nats SS Wilmer Difo, the highest ranked prospect on the Nats' this season, yanked his first long ball of the year off Heidenreich after CF Rafael Bautista reached base on a throwing error charged to Heidenreich himself. The big fly gave Potomac an early 2-0 lead just two hitters into the game.
It remained 2-0 Potomac until the bottom of the third when with two outs the Dash picked up back-to-back infield singles. 3B Trey Michalczewski came through with a big two-out RBI single to cut the lead in half, also breaking up a 16.2 inning scoreless streak spun by P-Nats pitching.
For Potomac the offense went cold as they picked up just two hits, both singles, from the second inning until the ninth when DH John Wooten connected for his first home run of the season.
The score remained 2-1 Potomac until the bottom of the fifth. With Spann still on the mound he allowed the first three hitters of the inning to reach base safely, SS Cleuluis Rondon singled, RF Keenyn Walker singled and CF Adam Engel walked. On walker's infield single Spann himself, in an attempt to retire Walker threw the ball down the right field line allowing Rondon to score to tie the game at 2-2. Walker went to third on the error and came home on a wild pitch by Spann to give Winston-Salem their first lead of the night 3-2. After the Engel walk, 2B Jake Peter lined an RBI triple into the left-center field gap scoring Engel and plating the fourth run of the game for the Dash.
In the top of the eighth inning Winston-Salem's DH Chris Jacobs was on third and C Omar Narvaez was on second when Rondon hit a ground ball to 3B Drew Ward. Ward looked as if he was going to throw to first before pivoting and delivering a strike to C Spencer Kieboom. Kieboom was on the infield side of home plate and Jacobs, attempting to score, came out of the baseline, lowered his shoulder and ran Kieboom over. The ball came out but Jacobs was ruled out at the plate and both runners were sent back to the previous bases they inherited. It was a pivotal play in the ball game that kept the P-Nats within two runs with only six outs remaining.
It remained 4-2 until the bottom of the ninth when Wooten homered against LHP Sean Hagan to inch the P-Nats closer, trailing now 4-3. The rally would end there as LF Isaac Ballou, representing the tying run, became a strike out victim against Hagan, who earned his first save of the season.
In the loss Spann pitched five innings, allowing seven hits, four runs (all earned), he walked one and struck out six. He was lifted in the sixth inning for RHP Jake Johansen who pitched four scoreless innings to keep the P-Nats within striking distance.
Earning his first victory, Heidenreich pitched six innings, allowing just the two runs on the Difo home run along with four hits, one walk and he struck out two. Hagan pitched the final three frames to close out the second Dash victory of the season.
Tomorrow night in game two of the three game series the P-Nats send RHP Nick Pivetta (0-1, 1.80) to the mound in search of the third win of the season for the home team. He will face off against RHP James Dykstra (1-0, 0.00) of Winston Salem.
A 7:05 pm scheduled first pitch with the gates opening at 6:00 pm at The Pfitz. You can listen to all the Potomac Nationals action at www.potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.
Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium is $2 Tacos and Tallboys night, as well as, Senior Night as the P-Nats look to give themselves a chance to win their first series of 2015.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. The P-Nats are the defending Carolina League Champions after winning the 2014 Mills Cup Championship Series. Potomac Nationals 2015 season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2015 season and beyond are available. Corporate outing reservations for the 2015 season to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz may be placed now as the P-Nats offer discounted group rates and all-inclusive picnics. Visit the P-Nats online www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office at 703-590-2311 for more information!