Luis Garcia played older than his years Sunday and Class A Advanced Potomac rode his youthful spark to a lopsided win.
The Nationals' third-ranked prospect collected four hits, including two doubles, and scored three times as the P-Nats rolled past Carolina, 10-1, at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium.
Gameday box score
Garcia went 2-for-4 on Saturday with a homer and a double to end a four-game hitless drought, and he picked up where he left off against the Mudcats. Batting second, he helped the Nationals collect four consecutive hits in a four-run first inning. He poked a single to right field and crossed the plate on a double to right by Nick Banks. In the second, the 18-year-old knocked a single to center and scored with Edwin Lora when Banks singled to center. The third baseman doubled to left in the third.
"He's been consistent and starting to get into a good rhythm as he feels more comfortable up there with us," Potomac manager Tripp Keister said. "He's an exciting player who can do a lot of things, from his hands to his really good first-step quickness. He's really good for only being 18 years old. His instincts are great, and though he's young, he's not young from a baseball sense. He plays above his age and when he comes to play, he has a lot of fun doing it. That's contagious."
In the sixth, Garcia grounded another double to left and scored for the third time on Ian Sagdal's two-run blast. MLB.com's No. 95 overall prospect grounded out to second in the eighth in search of his second career five-hit game. He's racked up four knocks three times this season.
Garcia was promoted to the Carolina League on July 4, and Keister said he's been satisfied with the youthful energy and high baseball IQ he's brought to the clubhouse and onto the field. When he has struggled, Garcia has lacked plate discipline, something the skipper said every great player cycles through during his development.
"You need to learn to know how pitchers are going to attack you, but he just needs to play," Keister said. "He's so young. Guys that come up like that need to play and make mistakes and play reckless at times and get experience dealing with the travel and playing such a big role at shortstop while batting second every day. That's a big leader role."
Sagdal and Banks both contributed three hits and three RBIs, with Sagdal scoring three times and Banks twice.
Nationals No. 22 prospect Kyle Johnston (2-1) gave up two hits and three walks while fanning five over six scoreless frames. The 2017 sixth-round pick joined Potomac on July 10 and surrendered eight runs and 13 hits over seven frames in his previous two starts. Keister saw something different from his starter on Sunday.
"He struggled a bit, at times, with his command in those two outings, but tonight his fastball command was good and his secondary stuff fell into place," he said. "He's working hard on his delivery and when he can get it back into the strike zone, his stuff is plenty good."