It’s not unusual to leave a game early, especially when the home team is up 6-1. After seven innings, this game looked like it was in the bag, even with Marcos Frias set to pitch the 8th.
Well, maybe not.
With eight runs in the eighth inning, the Winston-Salem Dash turned that 6-1 deficit into a 9-6 lead, then held on for a 9-8 win over Potomac. Seven of the eight runs scored with two outs. Frias, who was pitching in his third inning and had been the scheduled starter prior to Thursday night’s rainout, gave up back-to-back singles and was lifted for A.J. Morris, who struck out the first batter he faced, walked a batter to load the bases, and got a ground ball that erased the runner at second for the second out, the lead still intact at 6-2 with runners at the corner.
Then he gave up a single, the lead now 6-3, runners at first and second. All quiet on the bullpen front.
Then he gave up another single, bases loaded. Bullpen mounds unoccupied.
Then he gave up another single, two runs score, runner takes second on the throw home. The lead now just 6-5. Bullpen finally up and active.
Then he gave up another single, two runs score, runner takes second on the throw home, the Dash now up 7-6.
Manager Gary Cathcart finally lifted Morris for Patrick McCoy. Duly cursed by being named for this week’s “GBI,” McCoy promptly gave up the first extra-base hit, a double, then a single to complete the rally before finally getting a tapper to the mound for the third and final out.
Potomac would scratch out single runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but the number that jumps from the scorebook is 15. That’s the number of runners left on base, as the P-Nats would go just 3-for-16 with RISP.
Tyler Moore continues to be hotter than a two-dollar pistol as doubled to right field for two runs and launched a moonshot down the LF line for home run number 26 and RBI number 97. Starter Jimmy Barthmaier labored through five innings, but kept the Dash scoreless on three hits and one walk.
The loss blew an opportunity to gain ground on second-place Wilmington, as the Lynchburg Hillcats shut them out 7-0. Potomac still holds a 1½ game lead (two in the loss column) with staff ace Adrian Alaniz (6-4, 2.44) set to pitch against Joe Serafin (1-3, 6.21).