A five-run sixth, bookended by solo shots in the first and ninth, was the undoing of the Potomac Nationals in a 7-2 loss on Friday night.
This was the beatdown I was fearing in yesterday’s gamer, but for five innings the pessimism was unfounded as middle infielders Francisco Soriano and Jeff Kobernus were sensational on defense, combining for one double play and Soriano turning a cross-the-bag 6-B-3 beauty to keep the P-Nats in the game.
The wheels came off in the sixth for Potomac, the reversion that was mean as Winston-Salem sent 10 men up and had the first six reach base — the first four against starter Cameron Selik, who was charged with five runs in five-plus innings. Marcos Frias let in both runs he inherited with a long triple to rightcenter, misplayed momentarily by rightfielder J.R. Higley, a matter that only affected whether it would be a double or a triple as both runners easily crossed the plate.
Unfortunately, the Dash’s Joe Serafin had the P-Nats offbalance for most of the night with his bender and just-accurate-enough heater. The southpaw had seven K’s in earning his first win of the year, going seven-plus innings with the bullpen coughing up both runs.
To recap the scoring in the bottom of the eighth: Cutter Dykstra drew a leadoff walk, Brian Peacock, who had inexplicably replaced Eury Perez (Higley went to CF, Peacock to RF) in the top of the seventh, got a Texas-league bloop to short right field to put runners on first and second. Soriano chopped a single that bounded over the third baseman into short left to send in Dykstra. After a strikeout and flyout, Justin Bloxom capped the inning with an RBI single, the throw home getting past the catcher to set up Steve Souza with runners on second and third, but after battling for several pitches, he, too struck out to end the inning.
Winston-Salem’s Andy Wilkins completed the game’s scoring with a LONG home run to right field, easily clearing the multiple levels of signage and probably landing deep into the parking lot.
The loss dropped Potomac to 4-5 for the second half, a game off the pace currently set by Frederick. Chien-Mien Wang takes the hill tonight in a rehab start, with Mitchell Clegg (not Danny Rosenbaum) the first man out of the ‘pen, an indication perhaps that Wang will have a higher pitch count than the 50 he was allotted in Hagerstown.