Salem, VA-Salem (28-27-Overall, 17-15-Home) broke up a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the sixth and hung on for a 6-5 win to earn the series split against Potomac (25-31-Overall, 11-17-Road) on Sunday afternoon at Salem Memorial Ballpark.
The series finale in Salem pitted 20-year old RHP Lucas Giolito (1-4, 4.59) against 34-year old RHP Denny Bautista (2-0, 5.82).
Giolito finished after six innings allowing 11 hits and six runs (five earned). He didn't walk a batter and did strike out eight in his fourth loss of the season.
Bautista worked six innings himself, earning his second win of the season, allowing nine hits and five runs on two walks and he struck out three in the Red Sox victory.
Potomac against the veteran Bautista scored in the bottom of the first after 2B Christopher Bostick led-off the game for the third straight time in the series with a single. He swiped second base, his 12th of the season and came home on the hot hitting 1B John Wooten's RBI double for a 1-0 red, white, blue lead.
Giolito pitched a scoreless first inning before a wild bottom of the second ensued. It began innocently enough on a 2B Wendell Rijo infield single. The C Jake Romanski followed with a single with the hit-and-run on that moved Rijo to third. Rijo, after sliding into third, popped up and scored on an error that was charged to 2B Khayyan Norfork, the game was tied 1-1. After a RF Forrestt Allday ground out moved Romanksi to second and a wild pitch from Giolito to third, 3B Jordan Betts knocked in the backstop with an RBI single that gave Salem a 2-1 lead. CF Manuel Margot smacked an RBI triple scoring Betts and came home on another error charged to Norfork for a 4-1 Salem advantage.
Potomac answered in the third with two runs of their own when RF Estarlin Martinez legged out an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error charged to Rijo. Bostick then reach on another infield single that moved Martinez to third CF Narciso Mesa hit a sacrifice fly to score Martinez to make it 4-2 Salem. Two batters later Wooten cracked his second RBI double of the game for a 4-3 Ballgame in favor of the Sox.
Giolito then picked up four strikeouts in the next two scoreless frames to give him seven on the day and Potomac's offense responded with two runs in the fourth against Bautista. Norfork singled to begin the frame, then DH Jimmy Yezzo reached on an infield single. C Craig Manuel walked to load the bases and Martinez knocked in Norfork with an RBI groundout to tie the game at 4-4. The hot-hitting Bostick came up and rapped his third hit of the game for an RBI single and a 5-4 lead.
Bostick had two three-hit games in the series and is on an 11-game hitting streak, the longest by any National this season.
In the fifth Salem, with two outs, would get to Giolito again. DH Sam Travis, whose hit Potomac pitching very well this season, singled. 1B Mario Martinez, after striking twice before, smacked a game tying double and it was 5-5.
The game remained tied into the bottom of the sixth after the P-Nats sent eight men to the plate total in both the top half of the fifth and sixth.
Giolito, in his final inning was dinged for the go-ahead run after Romanski singled. Allday dropped down a sacrifice bunt and a Betts infield single moved Romanksi to third. Margot knocked in his second run of the game for a 6-5 Salem lead.
RHP Taylor Grover (SV 1) pitched the final three scoreless frames against Potomac allowing only one base runner on a walk in the seventh and earned his first save of the season. While RHP Tyler Mapes entered for Potomac in the seventh and pitched the final two frames scoreless for the P-Nats in the 6-5 loss.
Salem earned the series split with Potomac after sweeping the Nationals in the opening series of 2015 and Potomac falls 2-6 against the Southern Division Red Sox.
Potomac now heads to Carolina to begin a four-game series with the Mudcats in Zebulon, NC. It marks the first time the P-Nats travel to Carolina in 2015. Potomac is now 8.0 games back in the Carolina League's Northern Division, trailing the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
Tomorrow night's series opener with the 'Cat sees RHP John Simms (2-4, 4.29) for Potomac battle against RHP Sean Furney (0-3, 7.20) for Carolina.
First pitch at 7:00 pm and you can tune in live at www.potomacnationals.com and the TuneIn Radio App starting at 6:45 with the P-Nats Lead-Off Show on The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network.
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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