Woodbridge, VA-The Potomac Nationals (18-12, 9-6) were dominated by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (20-12, 13-4) on Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium and fell 10-4 in the series opener of four contests.
The Pelicans pounded out 18 base hits and C Jorge Alfaro came up a double shy of hitting for the cycle after a 3-for-5 performance at the plate that included three runs scored, one home run, and four RBIs.
The Nationals are now (2-2) against Myrtle Beach during the 2014 season.
The Pelicans got to LHP Brett Mooneyham (2-3) in a big way as the southpaw allowed seven runs for the second consecutive start.
Mooneyham, who took the loss, went just 1.1 innings which matches the length of his previous outing, and surrendered seven earned runs on six hits while walking three, fanning a pair, unleashing two wild pitches, and serving up a home run.
Conversely the winning pitcher, Pelicans RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-2) was terrific going 7.0 stanzas and allowing two earned runs on five hits. Gonzalez walked one, struck out six, and made only one true mistake in the game by surrendering a two-run homer to P-Nats RF Brandon Miller in the 6th inning.
Myrtle Beach plated two runs in the 1st inning on an Alfaro RBI single popped into shallow right center field and a run scoring one-base knock flared into left center field by CF Nick Williams.
The Pelicans plated five runs in the 2nd stanza on five hits while batting around. LF Zach Cone hit an RBI single that ricocheted off the third base bag to bring home 1B Preston Beck, who walked. Alfaro crushed the longest home run of the season swatted at Pfitzner Stadium in 2014, a three-run shot, over the wall in near dead center field estimated to travel at least 420 feet. 3B Joey Gallo then nailed a single into right field against a major infield shift and Mooneyham was chased from the game. Off Potomac RHP Wander Suero, who made his Carolina League debut, SS Hanser Alberto added a run-scoring single through the six hole to plate Gallo to give the Pelicans a 7-0 advantage.
Suero went on to toss 5.1 innings in which he allowed just one earned run on seven hits. Suero walked one and fanned a trio.
Myrtle Beach tallied one run in the 8th to yield an 8-0 score via an RBI fielder's choice off the lumber of RF Royce Bolinger.
Potomac jumped on the scoreboard on Miller's ninth home run of the season and eighth tater of the campaign at Pfitzner Stadium this season, a majestic deep fly to straight away center field.
Up 8-2, the Pelicans flocked two more runs to the dish in the 8th when Gallo brought in the triple of Alfaro with a single lined to center field before Alberto rapped his second RBI single of the game into left field to make it a 10-2 game.
Potomac answered as 3B Adrian Sanchez swept a two-run single in the last of the 8th through the hole at shortstop to summon home SS Stephen Perez, who doubled, and 3B Oscar Tejeda, who reached on a base-on-balls to cut the Myrtle Beach lead to 10-4.
Nationals relief hurler LHP Bryan Harper allowed the two runs in the 8th inning after 1.1 frames on the mound. Harper struck out one batter and allowed four hits.
P-Nats RHP Derek Self turned in a scoreless 9th frame with one hit and one walk to his line.
In the bottom of the 9th, Pelicans LHP Cody Ege induced a 6-4-3 double play ball off the bat of LF Randolph Oduber before Perez flew out to Williams in center field to end the contest and give the birds the edge in the series.
On Friday evening, the Nationals will send RHP Dakota Bacus (1-1, 2.53) to the bump to face off with Pelicans RHP Sam Wolff (3-3, 2.80).
First pitch is slated for 7:05pm and it will be an Anthony Rendon MLB Debut Poster Giveaway to the first 1,000 fans through the gates at The Pfitz on Friday night presented by: Burke and Herbert Bank with post-game Kids Race the Bases courtesy of Glory Days Grill.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, which is accessible at www.potomacnationals.com, will broadcast Game Two of the Nationals' standoff with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans on Friday evening beginning with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 6:50pm before the live play-by-play at 7:05pm.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed four Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, and 2010) and eight division championships. Most recently, the P-Nats earned a 2013 Carolina League Northern Division pennant. P-Nats 2014 season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2014 season and beyond are available. Plan your corporate outing now for the 2014 season to see the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz as the P-Nats offer discounted group rates and all-inclusive picnic options. Visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office at 703-590-2311 for more information!
-- Potomac Nationals --
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.