(MYRTLE BEACH, SC) A five-run third inning propelled the Potomac Nationals to a series-splitting 8-6 victory Thursday night in Myrtle Beach. Trevor Holder (1-2) earned his first victory of the 2011 campaign, Pat Lehman sealed the ballgame with his fifth save, but the headliner was Potomac's offense. 15 hits and eight runs led the Nats to their second straight win and handed lefthander Robbie Ross (2-1) his first loss.
After the Nationals fell behind on an unearned run in the first inning, their bats went to work. A one-out single from Stephen King got the Nats rolling; he would score on J.P. Ramirez's double to deep right field that knotted the game at 1-1.
But in the third inning, the Nationals put their foot on the gas. A leadoff walk by Jose Lozada was followed by a Cutter Dykstra single. Jeff Kobernus then doubled to give Potomac a lead they would never relinquish. With men on second and third, Destin Hood grounded to the right side to make it 3-1 Potomac. Steven Souza's one-out single stretched the lead to three, and Ramirez knocked in his second run of the game with a ground ball up the middle. J.R. Higley capped the scoring with a single to center, and the Nationals headed to the fourth leading 6-1.
Myrtle plated two runs against Holder in the fifth inning. Consecutive singles by Santiago Chirino (who had three hits on the night) and Jared Bolden were cashed in when Mike Olt stroked a two-out single to right field.
The Nats got one back when Cutter Dykstra doubled to left in the top of the sixth to score Lozada; Dykstra roped three hits and two doubles in the series finale.
Potomac carried an 8-4 lead into the ninth, but Adam Olbrychowski was lifted from the game after a walk and a one-out bloop single that J.P. Ramirez narrowly missed in left (Ramirez left the game with an injured wrist). Pat Lehman came into the save situation, but made things a little dramatic with a pair of wild pitches. The first put runners at second and third with one out; Jared Hoying scored on a single by Jared Prince. Another run scored on the second pitch to the backstop to make it 8-6, but Lehman induced ground out from Santiago Chirino to end the ballgame.
The Nationals improved to 8-11, while the Pelicans dropped to 13-7.
Potomac's road trip continues with a three-game series in Salem. Marcos Frias takes the ball Friday night at 7:05 P.M.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.