(WINSTON-SALEM, NC) Jared Mitchell broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning with a two-out double before Ian Gac blasted a home run to left that would prove the difference in the Winston-Salem Dash's 5-3 victory Monday night.
The P-Nats led twice in the series opener but the bullpen faltered in the late innings, and the top of the order failed to deliver on numerous occasions that could have stretched the Potomac lead. Cutter Dykstra and Jeff Kobernus combined to go 0-for-9 and leave nine runners on base, including two in the seventh inning before the Dash surged ahead for good.
Potomac (11-19) led after the first inning for the second straight night. Destin Hood roped a two-out single and stole second base before Justin Bloxom drove him in with a single to right.
The Dash (13-18) tied the game in the second; a one-out bases loaded single by Jake Oester knotted things, though Mitchell Clegg did record a pair of outs to leave the bases loaded and limit the damage.
Potomac regained the edge in the fifth. Sandy Leon reached on a drop third strike and moved to third on Jose Lozada's one-out double. Dykstra brought Leon home with a groundout to second, but Kobernus was retired to end the threat and keep the score 2-1.
Winston got the run right back in their half of the fifth. A leadoff triple by Daniel Wagner was turned into a run when Jose Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to deeep center.
In the seventh, Adam Olbrychowski (who had pitched a perfect sixth) got the first two batters. He then walked Martinez. The Nationals turned to Joe Testa to face the lefthanded Mitchell, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. But Testa missed with an 0-2 pitch and Mitchell hammered it off the wall in left to seize the lead for the Dash. On the very next pitch, Gac hit his league-leading ninth home run and Winston led 5-2.
J.P. Ramirez hit a leadoff homer in the ninth inning to cut the lead to two; it was the Nats' first home run since April 23 (when Ramirez hit a ninth-inning blast in Salem). Lozada tripled with two outs but was stranded at third when Dykstra grounded out. Lozada was on base all four times with two walks, a double and a triple.
Orlando Santos (2-1) got the win for Winston-Salem, and Olbrychowski (1-2) was saddled with the loss. Brandon Kloess pitched the ninth and got his fourth save.
The two clubs resume the series Tuesday night at 7:00 P.M. Trevor Holder matches wits with Terry Doyle.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.