Woodbridge, VA-Despite a home run and three RBIs from C Taylor Gushue, the Potomac Nationals (5-3) dropped the second game of a four game series to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (3-5) Friday night. The Blue Rocks jumped out to a 4-0 lead and held on for a 4-3 win, as Potomac got as close as the tying man at third base in the bottom of the eighth inning.
For the second straight night, the Blue Rocks scored first. After Potomac RHP Jefry Rodriguez (L, 0-1) struck out the first batter of the game, he gave up two straight singles and then walked RF Anderson Miller. With the bases loaded, C Chase Vallot made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly, and the Blue Rocks left men at second and third base in the frame.
In the third inning, the Blue Rocks got a leadoff single by SS Nicky Lopez. After a sacrifice bunt by 2B DJ Burt, CF Elier Hernandez made it 3-0 with a two-run home run, his first home run of the season. Wilmington capped off its scoring with a single run against Rodriguez in the sixth inning, as Vallot and LF Roman Collins hit back-to-back doubles, the latter made it 4-0.
Potomac managed very little offense against Wilmington LHP Emilio Ogando (W, 1-0). After tallying six runs on nine hits over four runs against Ogando less than a week ago, the P-Nats had just two runs on four hits against the left-handed starter Friday night. Ogando shut out Potomac through the first five frames, but surrendered a pair of runs in the sixth inning. 2B Bryan Mejia led off with a single, and after Ogando retired the next two hitters, Gushue hit his league leading fourth home run. The catcher's two-run blast cut the Potomac deficit in half.
While the P-Nats' bullpen due of LHP Matthew Crownover and LHP RC Orlan tossed three combined shutout innings, it was not enough, as Potomac managed just one run on three hits against the Blue Rocks' bullpen. RHP Jared Ruxer worked a perfect eighth inning, while LHP Richard Lovelady struggled in the eighth frame. CF Telmito Agustin led off the inning with a single, before Lovelady retired the next two batters that he faced. With two outs, 3B Kelvin Gutierrez and Gushue hit consecutive singles. Gushue's RBI single made it 4-3, but Potomac left the tying run at third base. RHP Andres Machado (SV, 1) struck out two batters in a perfect ninth inning, as Wilmington leveled the series at one game apiece.
The third game of the four game series gets underway at 6:35pm Saturday night at Pfitzner Stadium. RHP Joan Baez (0-0, 6.23) is set to make his second start of the season for Potomac. The righty allowed four runs, three earned, over 4.1 innings vs. Frederick in his 2017 debut. 2016 second round pick A.J. Puckett (0-1, 1.80) is set to start for the Blue Rocks. Puckett allowed two runs, only one earned, on just two hits over five innings in his debut, a loss to the Carolina Mudcats. The Potomac broadcast gets underway with the "P-Nats Leadoff Show" at 6:20pm. The broadcast can be heard on potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at 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. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2017 season and beyond are available, as well as corporate outings for the 2017 season to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2017single game tickets, season tickets, mini plans, group outings, and picnic packages, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket office at 703-590-2311.
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