SALEM, VA - The Salem Red Sox scored five runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning and never looked back as they evened up their four-game series against the Potomac Nationals Wednesday night with a 12-4 rout. Luis Exposito and Mike Jones each drove in three runs and Ryan Kalish scored four times and hit the first home run of the season for Salem who handed the P-Nats their fourth loss in their first six games of the 2009 season.
Left-hander Will Atwood (0-2) suffered his second loss in as many starts for the Nationals lasting three and a third innings against the Sox while allowing eight runs on nine hits. After yielding the Kalish homer in the 1st, Atwood faced 10 batters in the third and allowed RBI singles to Jason Place and Mike Jones and a bases loaded double off the bat of Exposito. He has now allowed 15 earned runs in his first two starts of his Carolina League career.
Prior to Salem's five-run outburst, Potomac had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the 3rd when second baseman Dan Nelson stole home against Sox starter Kyle Weiland with the bases loaded and two outs in the frame. Stephen, who was batting when Nelson swiped the plate, then delivered a two-run single up the middle for his second and third RBIs of the season. As for Nelson, he recorded a pair of doubles in just his second start of the season and drove in his first run of the year in the 4th on a run-scoring two-bagger off of Weiland that plated Brian Peacock.
But the Red Sox never let up as they doubled their highest run and hit total for the season scoring 12 runs on 16 hits against Nationals pitching. Place notched and RBI double in the 4th against Atahualpa Severino and then later scored on an Exposito single to make it a 9-4 game. Salem scored three more in the 8th on base hits by left fielder Chih-Hsien Chiang and Jones who went 3-for-5.
Potomac meanwhile, only had two hits in the final five and two-thirds innings of the contest against three Red Sox relievers. First baseman Chris Marrero, who entered the game as the only P-Nat to record a hit in every game this season, saw his five-game hitting streak snapped after posing an 0-for-3 with a walk on Wednesday.
Red Sox reliever Ryne Miller (1-0) earned the win in relief of Weiland pitching two and two-thirds of scoreless baseball while only walking one and striking out three. Including Nelson's steal of home, the P-Nats stole a season-high six bases against Salem.
Because of Tuesday's rainout, these two teams will play a doubleheader featuring two seven-inning contests with first pitch for game one expected at 5:30 p.m. Dan McGinn will have all the action beginning at 5:10 p.m. with the Potomac Nationals pre-game show and you can hear all the action online at www.potomacnationals.com
The P-Nats return home to celebrate their 2008 Carolina League Championship on Friday, April 17 when they host the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from Pfitzner Stadium at 7:05 p.m. It's the first Freebie Friday of the season and the first 1,000 fans will receive a Replica Championship Ring courtesy of the News & Messenger.
Join the party all season long at Pfitzner Stadium with the Potomac Nationals! Single-game tickets, season tickets and mini-plans for the 2009 season are available now. For more information, call (703) 590-2311 or visit www.potomacnationals.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.