Like a lot of uber-matchups, neither Potomac starter Nathan Karns nor Frederick starter Dylan Bundy figured in the decision for this one.
Instead, it was the battle of the bullpens, which the Potomac Nationals lost by turning a 4-0 lead into a 6-4 loss, the fourth straight for the P-Nats.
The disintegration began in the sixth inning, when Karns was beginning to tire but had a 4-0 lead. He had given up a two-out double followed by an infield single before he was lifted. Matt Swynenberg came in and promptly gave up a single, walk, and another single to center that sent in two runners. Suddenly, it was 4-3, and things looked much less certain.
In the bottom half, Potomac got a two-out single from Adrian Sanchez. With major-league rehab Chad Tracy coming up, Frederick went to the ‘pen to summon southpaw Trent Walters to face the lefthander. Instead, Sanchez was picked off to end the frame.
The collapse was completed in the ninth inning. Rob Wort was in his second inning of work, but the first wasn’t particularly stressful — a leadoff single, then a dropped fly to shallow center that was turned into an out, a strikeout, and then a flyout to right — but simply looked flat. A walk, a single, and then a towering shot over the RF wall gave the Keys a 6-4 lead.
As a former starter, Walters was fine to begin a fourth inning of relief. Erick Fernandez led off with sharp single up the middle to bring up the tying run, but Sanchez struck out and both Tracy and Rick Hague flew out to deep center to end the game.
Walters would finish with just two hits and no walks given up over three and 1/3rd innings. Swynenberg and Wort would combine for the same three and a 1/3rd, but with four runs on seven hits and two walks while letting in both inherited runners.
Offensively, Potomac would rap out 12 hits but struggled in the clutch (1-for-7 with RISP). Fernandez, Sanchez, and Stephen King would combine for nine hits, two doubles, and a triple, while Jason Martinson hit his fourth HR for Potomac off the LF light tower.
With the loss, Potomac falls to 6-8 in the second half, two games off the pace in the Carolina League North. Adam Olbrychowski (3-6, 5.43) gets the start tonight for the Woodbridge nine opposed by Frederick’s Tyler Wilson (4-3, 3.80).