On a cold, blustery night the Winston-Salem doubled up Potomac, 4-2 as the Dash’s Tony Buccifero outpitched the P-Nats’ Pedro Encarnacion.
The 24-year-old Buccifero, who led all starters in affiliated baseball with an FIP of 1.74 in 2013, tossed a career-high of eight innings while scattering nine hits but walking none to limit the damage to just two runs. He struck out eight.
Potomac did, however, connect for three doubles of the Dash starter, two of which came around to score: Oscar Tejeda’s two-out double in the 1st, on which he pulled up lame and was lifted for a pinch-runner, and Will Piwnica-Worms’s leadoff double in the 5th.
However, Potomac was only able to manage back-to-back hits twice last night: Kevin Keyes’s two-out RBI single following Tejeda’s double and Pedro Severino’s infield hit that Dash 3B Nick Basto was able to knock down but not field cleanly.
While it’s tempting to attribute Buccifero’s success to luck — there were a handful of “at ’em” balls to infielders — Chicago’s 14th Rd. pick in 2012 has a track record for this, most notably in his ability to generate ground balls (12 groundouts last night) which stands at 61.5% this season and has risen from a 50.9% rate last season.
His counterpart, Pedro Encarnacion continues to have an up and down season, but the one constant is that he’s had trouble making it to the fifth. For third time in four starts, the 22-y.o. Dominican was knocked out in the 5th after giving up a homer-single-single sequence with two outs for the third Winston-Salem run. He gave up eight hits total, two walks and four strikeouts.
Ian Dickson finished the game for Potomac, turning in four and 1/3rd innings of one-run ball, which makes him a candidate — as he did a year ago — to slide into the rotation if/when needed, which is certainly possible as the no-quality-start streak was extended to 19 games.
Potomac got the tying runs on in the 9th against Dash reliever Bryan Blough with a pair of one-out singles by Severino and Piwnica-Worms, who both went 2-for-4 on the night, but couldn’t push either runner over or across as Randolph Oduber flew out and Khayyan Norfork popped out to end the game.
With the loss, Potomac drops to 11-8 but maintains a two-game lead in the Carolina League North. Tonight, Nick Lee (0-2, 13.06) gets the start for Potomac against Braulio Ortiz (0-2, 4.38) for Winston-Salem.