Salem, VA-An out away from a third straight win at Haley Toyota Field, the Potomac Nationals (33-28) fell victim to a two-out RBI double from DH Ryan Scott in the ninth inning, and a walk-off single from C Roldani Baldwin in the 10th inning, as they fell 3-2 to the Salem Red Sox (29-33). Salem avoided playoff elimination with the come from behind victory.
Both teams wasted a dominant starting pitching performance, as RHP Sterling Sharp (ND) allowed just six hits over seven-shutout frames for Potomac, while RHP Bryan Mata (ND) struck out a career-high eight batters and allowed just one run over 5.1 innings for the Red Sox.
Potomac scored the first two runs of the night, while the Red Sox scored the final three. The P-Nats got on the board in the sixth inning, as 3B Jake Noll drew a leadoff walk. Mata then issued a walk to 1B Ian Sagdal , before he struck out C Jakson Reetz . The Red Sox went to the bullpen, and RHP Yankory Pimentel gave up a two-strike RBI single to SS David Masters , which made it 1-0 Potomac. An inning later, RF Rhett Wiseman doubled with two outs. DH Alec Keller bounced out to 2B Brett Netzer, but 1B Jerry Downs failed to field the throw from Netzer, which allowed Wiseman to score from second base. Downs was charged with the error that put Potomac on top 2-0.
After seven frames from Sharp, Potomac went to the bullpen, as RHP Ronald Pena pitched the eighth and ninth frames. In the eighth inning, SS Santiago Espinal doubled with one out, and then scored on an RBI single from Netzer. After Baldwin reached on an error by Noll, 3B Bobby Dalbec grounded into an inning-ending double play. The following frame, Pena walked Downs to begin the inning, and after a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, the right-handed reliever allowed a two-out, game-tying, RBI double to Scott. Pena struck out RF Tyler Hill to strand the winning run in scoring position in the ninth.
The P-Nats weren't able to take advantage of the free baserunner on second base in the 10th inning against RHP Matthew Gorst (W, 1-2), while the Red Sox ran into an out at third base against LHP Jordan Mills (L, 0-2) to start the home half of the frame. With Espinal at first base and one out, Netzer tallied his fourth hit of the night, which put runners at the corners. With only one out, Baldwin drove one into the left-centerfield alley, which plated Espinal, and gave the Red Sox the walk-off victory.
The loss for Potomac was the third for the club when leading after eight innings this season. It was Salem's second win when trailing after eight innings.
Despite the loss, Potomac remains in good shape to lock up a playoff spot in the first half. Entering Wednesday night's doubleheader against the Red Sox, Potomac sits 4.5 games ahead of both the Red Sox and the Frederick Keys, and six games ahead of the Lynchburg Hillcats. All three teams are still alive for a playoff spot, though Potomac has many clinching scenarios on Wednesday, both after game one and game two.
First pitch of game one of the doubleheader at Haley Toyota Field on Wednesday is set for 4:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 3:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Northwest Federal Field 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 P-Nats' 2018 season and beyond are available, as well as all-inclusive corporate picnic outings to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. 2018 Potomac Nationals season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2018 season tickets, mini plans, group outings, picnic packages, fundraisers, and all things Red, White, and Blue, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com, follow the P-Nats on Facebook (@PotomacNationals), Twitter (@PNats42), and Instagram (@pnats42), or call the Potomac Nationals' Extreme Custom Collision Ticket Office at 703-590-2311.
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