Woodbridge, VA-The Potomac Nationals (18-17) plated six runs with two outs in the third inning of a game one victory Saturday night over the Salem Red Sox (23-12), while the Red Sox escaped with a 3-2 win in game two.
In the game one victory, RHP Wirkin Estevez (W, 2-2) combined with RHP Ronald Pena for the shutout. The P-Nats scored all six runs in a single frame against LHP Daniel McGrath (L, 0-3), who has now given up six earned runs on four different occasions vs. Potomac in his career.
All six Potomac runs in game one came with two outs in the third inning. McGrath retired two of the first three hitters that he faced in the frame, as CF Victor Robles' single split a pair of outs. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez reached on an infield single, which put runners on the corners for C Taylor Gushue . The Potomac catcher launched his league leading 11th home run of the season over the left field wall on a two-strike pitch. Already ahead 3-0, Potomac doubled its lead with another three runs in the inning. RF Rhett Wiseman plated two men with a double, while 2B Bryan Mejia capped the game's scoring with an RBI single.
Estevez dazzled in his best start of the season. The right-handed starter scattered five hits and walks just one. The 25-year-old struck out a season high seven batters, the most he has struck out in a single game since 2012. A shutout frame from Pena closed the books on Potomac's third shutout of the season.
In the back half of the doubleheader, Salem jumped out to an early lead, and despite a comeback effort, the P-Nats fell short. LHP Hector Silvestre (L, 3-1) tallied his first loss of the season, despite a three-run, five-inning performance. The Red Sox scored in the second, third, and fourth frames, while Potomac mustered just one run against Salem LHP Dedgar Jimenez (W, 4-1).
Salem struck first in the top of the second inning. Silvestre walked 3B Jose Sermo, while RF Trenton Kemp doubled just out of the reach of Robles and made it 1-0 in favor of the Red Sox. The P-Nats quickly answered in the bottom half of the frame. DH Austin Davidson began the inning with a walk and moved to third on a double by SS Edwin Lora . Two batters later, 1B Matt Page tied the game with an RBI groundout, though Potomac failed to bring the next man home. The P-Nats went 0-5 with RISP in the game two loss.
The Red Sox went ahead for good with a run in the third inning. SS Chad De La Guerra led off the third inning with a triple into the right field corner. Two batters later, 1B Josh Ockimey made it 2-1 in favor of the Red Sox with a sacrifice fly. In the fourth inning, Salem plated the eventual winning run with a two-out rally. 2B Nick Lovullo doubled, while CF Tate Matheny plated him with an RBI single to left field.
The Red, White, & Blue mounted a comeback in the final frame against RHP Trevor Kelley. Lora began the frame with a single, and a one-out base hit from Page put men on the corners. C Jake Lowery made it a one run game with a sacrifice fly, while Robles followed with a single. With the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on first, Kelly got LF Jack Sundberg to take a called third strike, as Salem held on for a 3-2 win.
The set between the P-Nats and Red Sox is set to conclude on Sunday. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (3-1, 3.16) is set to take the ball for Potomac. Rodriguez has now allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last four starts (1.67 ERA). For Salem, RHP Daniel Gonzalez (Debut) is set to make his Carolina League debut. Gonalez opened the season with the Greenville Drive, where he went 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in eight relief outings. First pitch of the series finale is set for 1:05pm on Sunday afternoon. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 12:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.
On Sunday, celebrate both Mother's Day and Star Wars Day at Pfitzner Stadium. A Mother's Day Expo will be set up in the concourse, which will feature four different special vendors. The first 100 moms through the gates will receive a carnation, while there will be courtesy fruit, cheese, and vegetable trays set up, as well as a make-your-own Mother's Day card booth. The P-Nats will celebrate 40 years since Star Wars: Episode IV with custom themed jerseys, which feature the Cantina Band and Han Solo. The Star Wars theme jerseys will be auctioned off, with proceeds set to benefit Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic. Sunday is also a Kids Day Sunday and the first first 250 kids 12 and under will eat free, presented by Little Caesar's. Sunday is also the second Uncle Slam Reading Program Day, and a Virginia529 Super Saver Sunday.
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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.