Woodbridge, VA-The Nationals (20-27-Overall, 11-12-Home) offense plated eight runs on 11 hits and six walks to overtake the Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-19-Overall, 8-10-Road) 8-3 on Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium in Game Three of the Four-Game series.
RHP John Simms (2-4, 4.60) made his sixth start of the season and was looking to continue his stretch of three consecutive quality starts facing Wilmington for the first time in 2015.
Simms gutted out a five inning performance, allowing three runs (all earned) on seven hits and five walks while adding four strikeouts. The hits, walks and strikeouts were season highs for the righty.
RHP Yender Caramo (2-3, 2.84) faced the P-Nats for the third time, while making his sixth start and tenth appearance overall.
2B Ramon Torres homered to begin the ball game for Wilmington. It was the second home run Simms has allowed and the first lead-off home run for Wilmington since July 19th, 2013, when Justin Trapp did it in a Blue Rocks uniform. The long ball was the first of the season for the switch hitter and gave Wilmington a 1-0 lead.
Potomac answered in the bottom of the first. With one out SS Stephen Perez singled. He moved to second on a wild pitch and a throwing error charged to the C Santiago Nessy followed to move Perez to third base. DH Isaac Ballou knocked in his 19th RBI of the season with an RBI ground out to tie the game at 1-1.
Simms danced in and out of trouble all night throughout his five innings of work. He issued a walk and relinquished a single in the second but danced out of the jam.
Potomac took the lead for good in the bottom of the second on four straight singles, all with two outs. CF Narciso Mesa singled in 1B Jimmy Yezzo and 2B Christopher Bostick singled home LF Estarlin Martinez for the 3-1 lead.
With one out in the top of the third, Simms walked two and gave up two singles and DH Carlos Garcia banged in 3B Mauricio Ramos to cut the lead to 3-2.
The back and forth affair continued in the bottom of the third for Potomac. Three singles to begin the inning netted a run when 3B Drew Ward knocked in Ballou for his team-leading 22nd RBI of the season and a 4-2 Potomac lead.
Simms had his best inning in the fourth striking out two and issuing a walk to Torres. Simms picked off Torres to only face three batters in the inning.
Potomac went scoreless in the fourth after LHP Estarlin Cordero entered the ball game. Caramo went three innings allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits, issuing no walks and striking out three. Camaro took his third loss of the season and is 1-2 against Potomac.
In Simms final inning he allowed a single to Ramos with one out. Ramos scooted up to second base on Simms first and only wild pitch of the evening and came home to score when 1B Robert Pehl knocked him in for his eighth RBI of the year and made 4-3 Potomac.
Against both Cordero and RHP Andrew Edwards Potomac put up a four spot to blow the game open in the fifth. Ward walked to begin the inning and after a ground out Yezzo singled. Wilmington's skipper Brian Buchanan went the bullpen and brought in Edwards. Martinez hit a bleeder towards second base and reached safely being credited with a fielder's choice ball and a sacrifice bunt with an RBI to make it 5-3. After a Mesa lineout, Bostick was hit by a pitch and Perez knocked in two for a 7-3 lead and Bostick scored on a wild pitch for the eighth and final Potomac run.
RHP Wander Suero (SV 1) pitched four shutout innings to wrap up the 8-3 contest and earn his first save of the season, giving Simms his second win of the season. Suero, in five appearances out of the bullpen, has not allowed a single run, earned or otherwise in 12.1 innings. The active streak is the longest such streak by a P-Nats reliever this season.
Eight of the nine starters for Potomac had at least one hit and three members (Perez, Kieboom and Yezzo) had two hits apiece while Yezzo and Martinez both scored two runs apiece. Perez, who reached base four times on two hits and two walks, knocked in two in the win.
Tomorrow night's series finale pits RHP Phillips Valdez (0-0, 0.00), just called up from Hagerstown, against LHP Eric Skoglund 3-1, 2.12) for Wilmington. Potomac will go for the series split before the first place Myrtle Beach Pelicans come to town.
The P-Nats Baseball Network will carry live coverage of the finale starting at 6:50 pm with The P-Nats Lead-Off Show with first pitch set for 7:05 pm from Pfitzner Stadium.
Friday night at The Pfitz will provide fans with a chance to take home replica P-Nats blue jerseys courtesy of Circle K, a Hardywood Park Craft Brewery beer tasting. The kids run the bases provided by Glory Days Grill, its Reading Program Day and Va529 Report Card Day presented by Virginia 529. The gates will open at 6:00 p.m.
The Potomac Nationals play at G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League 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 at www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office at 703-590-2311 for more information!
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