Potomac’s two-out knack for offense continued in the series finale, a 7-3 win over Salem.
After scoring six times with two down on Wednesday (in one inning no less), the P-Nats scored four times with two outs. Unlike the night before, both rallies came with two out and nobody on.
Cole Leonida scored the first one with his third home run of the season, a blast to the woods beyond left field that reclaimed the lead for Potomac at 2-1 in the second inning.
In the 7th, ahead again by just a run for the second time at 4-3, Potomac did it again, ruining the High-A debut of Salem’s Madison Younginer. The 22-year-old struck out the first two batters he faced, but couldn’t put away either Randolph Oduber or Billy Burns and walking both the Nos. 9 and 1 batters.
The steal has been a favorite weapon for manager Brian Daubach. It helps, of course, to have the horses (greyhounds?) to run it. Three times in the 7th, Daubach took off the reins (leash?) to put the pressure on, running the P-Nats league-leading stolen base total to 81.
Veteran UT Francisco Soriano singled in Oduber while Michael Taylor doubled in Burns and Soriano to cap the three-run rally and send Younginer to showers.
Also like the night before, the Potomac ‘pen got the job done when the starting pitching faltered.
Well, maybe not faltered, but fell short of the high standard that had been set. Coming into the game, Blake Schwartz had won four of six starts with each start seemingly better than the last, culminating in a two-hit, one-run, eight-inning gem versus first-place Lynchburg last Saturday.
Instead, Schwartz gave up more hits (7) than innings pitched (5⅔) for the first time this year, including just the second HR allowed in 56 innings. Thanks to Matt Grace, the damage would be limited to just three runs (also a season “worst”).
Grace retired seven of eight batters faced, issuing just a one-out walk in the 7th and striking out three to pick up the win, his third against no losses (though he has four blown saves).
Cameron Selik rebounded from his poor showing on Tuesday to set ’em down in order in the 9th, fanning the first and last batters to nail it down for Potomac.
The win keeps pace with first-place Lynchburg, which won its fourth straight. The Hillcats come to Woodbridge this weekend for the final series between the two teams in the first half. Robbie Ray (3-2, 2.58) takes the hill in Game One against Lynchburg’s A.J. Holland (3-3, 3.47).