Potomac wins Carolina League Championship

Potomac beats Winston-Salem to win the 2010 Carolina League Championship

The action came early, but the suspense lasted all night long as the Potomac Nationals edged the Winston-Salem Dash 2-1 to win the 2010 Carolina League Championship.

Facing the most potent lineup in the Carolina League, nobody (*ahem*) thought that a pitcher’s duel could be possible in this series, much less the deciding game. But baseball is a game that both defies and fulfills expectations in ways that can be sensed, but never predicted.

Francisco Soriano led off the bottom of the first with a walk, took second on a grounder to third, took third on a grounder to second. Up came Tyler Moore, who drove in Soriano with Texas-Leaguer to left field for the first run of the game. Two innings later, Soriano would triple down the right field line and score on a tapper to first off the bat of Bill Rhinehart for a 2-0 lead that Potomac would build on methodically as the night would progress.

They did not.

There were baserunners in every single inning from the 4th to the 8th, most notably a one-out bomb by Tyler Moore to deep right-center, but against the most potent lineup in the Carolina League (or at least the most potent that they could face) the 2-0 lead seemed far too close for comfort.

Sure enough, Winston-Salem answered the second Potomac run in inglorious fashion, a tapper back to the mound that starter (and winner) Marcos Frias bounced off the shoulder of Jon Gilmore for a two-base error. Cleanup hitter Seth Loman cashed in the opportunity with a sharp single to left that cut the deficit to 2-1 — what you know to be final score, but the crowd of nearly 2,000 did not.

Frias would pitch five innings total, allowing the lone, unearned Winston-Salem run, on four hits and no walks, while striking out four. Joe Testa would follow him with a 2⅔ innings of hitless and scoreless relief, walking one and striking out two. Zach Dials would follow for a four-out save, finishing the 2010 postseason with his second save and a 1.29 ERA.

The win secured Potomac its second championship in three seasons, but one that was far more satisfying to see than the previous because it was so unforeseen and so unlikely, given the offensive struggles in the first half and the tendency of the front office to demote rather than promote to replenish the roster.

And for a few, there’s the hope of more… heading to Harrisburg next season, and perhaps Syracuse the year after. But for some, this is the pinnacle of their professional baseball career, if not the end of it in affiliated baseball. As they did in 2008, some will snort and sniff about the advanced age of this team and dismiss their success. And those folks… well, you can just kiss my ass because damn, it was fun to watch.

Instructional League Roster Notes – Position Players

A thumbnail sketch on the position players batting in the Florida Instructional League

Player Pos. Age 2010 Team(s) 2009 Invite Notes
David Freitas C 21 VMT N 15th-rd ’10 Col Jr. Pick out of Hawaii,
split time behind the plate and at DH. Solid
triple-slash stats: .307/.408/.450
Sandy Leon C 21 HAG Y His bat starting to approach his
defense, overtook Adrian Nieto in terms
of playing time
Cole Leonida C 21 VMT N 6th-rd Col Jr. pick in ’10 draft that
struggled with hitting: .146/.241/.184
Adrian Nieto C 20 HAG Y Lost playing time to Leon and had a
setback year with his triple-slash stats
all dipping about 30 pts
Roberto Perez C 19 GCL Y Breakout year in repeating GCL,
appears to be a convert from SS in ’09;
solid hitting stats
Andruth Ramirez C 21 DSL N Made the jump from DSL to the GCL
and hit .197/.293/.273 in 22 games
Rick Hague SS 22 GCL, HAG N 3rd-rd ’10 Col Jr. pick that was jumped
from the GCL with good numbers and
continued to improve, finishing with a
.317/.385/.477 line combined
Blake Kelso 3B-SS 21 VMT N 10th-rd ’10 Col Jr. pick that hit for
average (.309) got on base (.362) and
stole a few bags (10 in 61G)
Stephen King 3B-SS 22 VMT, HAG Y HS Pick in ’06, King is an enigma…
flashes of brilliance in nearly every phase
of the game, but just can’t seem to put it
all together at once
Jason Martinson SS 21 VMT N 5th-rd ’10 Col Jr. pick, former two-
sport athlete (football) that may be more
suited to 3B but has the hands, arm, and
range to try to make a go of it as a SS
Russell Moldenhauer IF/DH 22 VMT N 24th-Rd Col Sr. Big, burly, with raw
power but appears to be in search of a
position (LF or 1B most likely)
Tyler Moore 1B 23 POT Y Prodigious power, but still not taking
walks and striking out nearly as often since
heating up in mid-July. Carolina League MVP.
Johan Rodriguez SS 19 GCL N Another IFA from the D.R. Put up
pedestrian numbers (.231/.286/.250) in
limited playing time (32G)
Adrian Sanchez 2B/SS 20 GCL, HAG Y Like Hague, a two-level performer,
though the jump slowed him some. Showed
good contact, speed in HAG
Steven Souza 3B 21 HAG Y Organization still high on him despite
PED use. Was having breakout year before
Michael Taylor 2B 19 GCL, HAG Y HS pick in ’09 that’s impressing somebody
at some facet without the numbers to show
for it
Jean Valdez 3B 17 DSL N Mid-season All-star in the DSL. Very
good numbers for his age (.249/.309/.354)
Bryce Harper OF/C 17 DNP N The latest can’t-miss prospect of the
decade. Rumored to be getting reps in
preparation for the AFL.
Destin Hood OF 22 HAG Y ’08 HS pick that’s been touted as
having power potential, but hasn’t
realized it yet as a pro
Kevin Keyes LHRP 21 VMT N 7th-rd. Col Jr. pick out of Univ. of
Texas that had a poor showing in his first
season as a pro
Wade Moore OF 22 VMT N 19th-rd Col Jr. pick that put up big
numbers for a small-school standout
(.287/.394/.292, 17SB)
Randolph Oduber OF 21 GCL, HAG N 32-rd JuCo pick that’s been a fan
favorite for the numbers he’s posted in
the GCL (.366/.434/.569) but struggled in
his limited (8G) look-see at HAG
Eury Perez OF 20 HAG Y ’07 IFA that’s another fan favorite,
especially after stealing 41 of his 63
bases in the 2nd half. HAG spies worry
that his defense and contact skills will be
exposed as he progresses upward
J.P. Ramirez OF 20 HAG Y ’08 HS Pick that was quietly consistent
amid the noise of streaks from Souza,
Bloxom and Perez. Concerns about his lack
of range and lack of speed

P-Nats pound Dash 10-2, take Finals lead at 2-1

Potomac is one step away from the 2010 Carolina League title

The error that started the sixth drew a collective groan from the hundreds that braved the wet weather in Woodbridge. Though the Potomac nine were ahead 3-2, these diehards knew that the Dash can bang even when they start with a whimper. Sure enough, a sharp single to left and perfectly placed bunt loaded the bases with nobody out.

Veteran pitcher Jimmy Barthmaier had been struggling with his control, walking three in the previous five innings when he had walked just seven in nine regular-season appearances. Carlos Martinez started throwing in the bullpen and the fans were calling for Cathcart to put him in.

A popup to short got the first out, but the fans still wanted Carlos. Drew Garcia, who had singled twice in the previous two at-bats, got caught looking on an inside fastball. With the long, lean Dominican standing in the bullpen, hands on his hips, Barthmaier induced a popup to shallow right field. In the fourth, that flare found grass, but this time it landed in second-baseman Francisco Soriano’s glove for the third out. Barthmaier strode off the mound in triumph.

The energy carried into the bottom of the sixth, where Potomac rallied for three runs on two singles, two sacrifices, two wild pitches, and two stolen bases to take a 6-2 lead. It would prove to be enough, as the P-Nats would go on to win by a 10-2 count and take the series lead at 2-1, one win away from their second Mills Cup in three seasons.

Solo home runs by Bill Rhinehart and Jose Lozada in the first and second innings respectively gave the P-Nats an early 2-0 lead. The rain, light but steady, was enough to make folks worry if these longballs would eventually count. It had delayed the game 27 minutes and was quite visible on any ball skipping on the grass, an eight-inch plume of water spinning above it.

Rhinehart would lead all hitters with three RBIs on his homer and an eighth-inning double. Lozada would score three times while walking twice and Sean Rooney was the third P-Nat to collect multiple hits, including a fourth-inning triple to the wall in right-center that sent in Tyler Moore, who had been hit by pitches twice, to give the P-Nats the 3-2 lead.

Marcos Frias takes the hill tonight with the hopes of clinching his second playoff series in as many starts, opposed by Nathan Jones for the Winston-Salem Dash. Frias is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his last three starts (17⅔ IP, 15H, 4BB, 14K) while Jones is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA (16⅔ IP, 11H, 9BB, 11K) over the same stretch.

Instructional League Roster Notes – Pitchers

A thumbnail sketch on who’s going to pitch in the Florida Instructional League

Player Pos. Age 2010 Team(s) 2009 Invite Notes
Gregory Baez LHSP 18 GCL Y Jumped from the DSL to GCL with limited
Aaron Barrett RHRP 22 VMT N 9th-rd pick in ’10 draft, hammered for
23H, 23R in last six appearances
A.J. Cole RHSP 18 VMT N 4th-rd HS pick in ’10 draft, late sign; pitched
a scoreless inning in his one appearance
Paul Demny RHSP 21 HAG Y Faded in Aug/Sep (0-7, 6.75) — a power arm
that’s likely headed to the bullpen in 2011
Pedro Encarnacion RHSP 19 GCL Y Jumped from the DSL to GCL with limited
Wirkin Estevez RHSP 18 DSL N Sleight (6-1, 170) righty that put up strong
numbers in DSL all year long
Matt Grace RHSP 21 GCL, VMT N 8th-rd ’10 Col Jr. pick that struggled early
before having some limited success at GCL
Tyler Hanks RHRP 20 GCL N 17th-rd ’10 JuCo pick that put up respectable
numbers (1.29WHIP, 25K in 33⅓IP)
Bobby Hansen LHSP 20 VMT Y Big (6-5, 220) lefty, HS pick in ’08; hittable
(72H in 56⅓ IP) but gets Ks (8.15K/9IP)
Mark Herrera RHRP 20 VMT N 16th-rd ’10 JuCo pick w/ good size (6-3, 230)
and the numbers s to match (.220 OBA)
Graham Hicks LHSP 20 VMT, HAG Y Lanky, long-limbed lefty that tends to get hit
on his 2nd pass through the opposing lineup
Trevor Holder RHSP 23 HAG, POT N Pitch-to-contact guy that can be effective
in lower third of the strike zone, will be even
better as his offspeed stuff develops.
Chad Jenkins LHSP 22 VMT Y Control is a little lacking (5.67BB/9) but has
the strikeouts to match (8.67K/9IP)
Taylor Jordan RHSP 21 VMT Y Struggled but survived when I saw him in late
June but didn’t fare so well in July and August
Anthony Marcelino RHSP 17 DSL N Venezuelan IFA that put up good numbers in
the DSL, never mind he turned 17 in March
A.J. Morris RHRP 23 GCL, POT Y Converted to relief in mid-season with limited
success, but had a noticeable uptick in velocity
upon his return from GCL
Miguel Navarro RHRP 17 DSL N Another IFA, but struggled at GCL —
20IP 19H 19R 21BB
Robbie Ray LHSP 18 VMT N 12th-rd HS pick in ’10 draft, late sign, pitched
a scoreless inning in his one appearance
Dan Rosenbaum LHSP 22 HAG, POT Y Big-bodied lefty that features a curve and a
cutter to go with fastball; command is
sometimes spotty but knows how to pitch
without his “A” game
Josh Smoker LHRP 21 HAG Y Conversion to relief was a huge success
(1.35ERA, .174OBA) and may have salvaged
his prospect status, if not career
Sammy Solis LHSP 22 HAG N #2 WAS pick in ’10 draft, made two
scoreless appearances late in season.
Expected to rise quickly a la Storen
Rob Wort RHRP 21 HAG, POT N Lanky righty (6’2, 170) that leapfrogged
Dean Weaver as bullpen star. Pitches better
with men on than with bases empty

Potomac wins to tie Mills Cup Finals at 1-1

A 5-3 win for Potomac evens the Carolina League Championship series at 1-1

The tables were turned on the Winston-Salem Dash as the Potomac Nationals used both the long ball and the big inning to twice overcome one-run deficits for a 5-3 victory. The win evened the Carolina League championship series at 1-1, which will resume tomorrow night in Woodbridge.

Trevor Holder was the stopper for the second time in as many starts with 5⅓ innings pitched, with two runs allowed on eight hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. Zach Dials got the win in relief, allowing hits to the first two batters he faced in the sixth but then retiring the side in the seventh.

Early on, the P-Nat lumber was still in a slumber as Winston-Salem’s Dylan Axelrod faced 10 batters before Derek Norris led off the fourth with a double. After Bill Rhinehart popped put and Tyler Moore struck out, it appeared that he would be stranded until Jamar Walton launched a two-run blast to left to give Potomac its first lead at 2-1.

Dash cleanup hitter Seth Loman chased Holder with a one-out solo shot in the sixth, tying the game at 2-2, and Ozzie Lewis greeted Dials with a triple to center. Jose Martinez followed with a single to left to send in Lewis and return the lead to Winston-Salem at 3-2.

Axelrod was lifted after seven innings in favor of journeyman Brandon Kloess. Francisco Soriano walked and stole second second base. After Nick Moresi struck out, Soriano would score after Dan Lyons and Norris hit back-to-back singles, chasing Kloess. Lefthander Hector Santiago came on to face Bill Rhinehart. Santiago got the out, but the flyball was deep enough for Lyons to score the go-ahead run. Tyler Moore singled to complete the rally.

With a 5-3 lead, Patrick McCoy took the ball in the eighth and let up a leadoff single to Brandon Gilmore, giving the crowd of 4,009 hope for another rally. But the burly lefty crushed any hopes of that by retiring the next six batters to notch the save and send the two teams back to Virginia, in what now amounts to a best-of-three with Potomac as the host.

Potomac loses Game One, 4-0

Winston-Salem’s pitchers shut down the P-Nats bats for a 4-0 win in Game One

Winston-Salem’s Stephen Sauer pitched masterfully for eight innings to lead the Dash to a 4-0 victory over the Potomac Nationals in Game One of the Mills Cup Finals.

Sauer was perfect through five innings, keeping the ball down and in the infield with four strikeouts, a lineout, a popup, and nine grounders. The 24-year-old would eventually give up five hits and no walks before turning the ball over to closer Tyson Corley for a 1-2-3 ninth and a combined shutout.

Danny Rosenbaum got his second Game One series start and almost immediately got into trouble with the first of two errors by Robby Jacobsen and a walk before rolling a double-play ball and striking out Winston-Salem’s cleanup hitter Seth Loman. After a scoreless second, and two-hit third, Winston-Salem got on the board first with an Ozzie Lewis solo HR to take a 1-0 in the fourth.

Rosenbaum would last for 4⅓ innings before leaving with runners on 1st and 3rd in the fifth, an unusually quick hook by manager Gary Cathcart who called upon A.J. Morris to clean up the mess, which he did with by returning a tapper back to the mound to Derek Norris and inducing a liner to short.

The sixth inning was not as kind to Morris as shaky defense combined with timely hitting loaded the bases and the Dash grinded (grounded?) out two runs in the process to take a 3-0 lead. Joe Testa took the hill in the seventh and gave up the fourth and final Dash run with a leadoff double by Kenny Williams Jr. and an RBI single by Loman.

Jose Lozada collected the first Potomac hit with a leadoff single in the sixth and took second on a Nick Moresi swinging bunt and third on Chris Curran single to right. Sean Nicol, however, grounded out to end the threat. Tyler Moore became the second runner stranded after he narrowly missed an opposite-field home run in the seventh. And in the eighth, back-to-back singles by pinch-hitter Sean Rooney and Curran went for naught as pinch-hitting Francisco Soriano couldn’t get the clutch hit.

Trevor Holder will be asked to split the series as the Game Two starter against Winston-Salem’s Dylan Axlerod takes the hill with hopes of giving the P-Nats the poison pill and a trip to Woodbridge with 2-0 lead.

Playoff Preview: Potomac vs. Winston-Salem

Here’s your preview for the 2010 Mills Cup Finals

Two years ago, Potomac faced an 89-win team that led the league in offense (5.46 runs per game) and outslugged them 35-15 to win the Mills Cup. This year, they’re facing the same challenge against the 81-win, 5.31-runs-per-game Winston-Salem Dash. Can they do it again?

The odds are stacked against them. During the regular season, they only beat them eight times in 20 games. Four wins in the first half, four wins in the second. Four wins at home, four wins on the road

It’s tempting to say that the much-improved offense can stand toe-to-toe with them but take a look at the last seven meetings:

Date Where Result
July 22 @W-S Lost, 4-5
July 23 @W-S Lost, 12-13
July 24 @W-S Won, 7-2
July 25 @W-S Won, 13-3
Aug 20 @Pot Lost, 8-9
Aug 21 @Pot Won, 9-2
Aug 22 @Pot Lost, 8-9

These meetings coincide with the offensive resurgence of the P-Nats, and demonstrates the universal truth of when you get good pitching, you usually win. Well, tell that to the Kinston Indians, who lost 3-2 and 2-0 before falling 10-5 in 10 innings to get swept in the Southern Division semis for the Mills Cup. That five-run outburst in extras is what Potomac needs to fear, especially after blowing an 8-2 lead to lose 9-8 on August 20.

If there is any hope, it’s the lack of familiarity that Winston-Salem has with the top three projected starters for Potomac, Danny Rosenbaum, Trevor Holder and Jimmy Barthmaier. Rosenbaum has never faced them, Holder as only pitched 3⅔ innings as a reliever, and Barthmaier pitched five scoreless innings against them on August 20th. The same cannot be said for any of Winston-Salem’s likely starters, which are reported to be Steven Sauer and Dylan Axlerod for Games 1 and 2, with Terry Doyle and Nathan Jones likely to follow, though not necessarily in that order.

Without further ado, here’s the breakdown, starting with the schedule…
Game 1 at Winston-Salem, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
Game 2 at Winston-Salem, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m.
Game 3 at Potomac, Sept. 16 at 7:03 p.m.
Game 4 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 17 at 7:03 p.m.
Game 5 at Potomac (if necessary), Sept. 18 at 6:35 p.m.

And here are the pitching matchups, as reported by the Winston-Salem Journal and predicted by yours truly…
Game 1 Danny Rosenbaum (3-2, 2.09) vs. Stephen Sauer (8-10, 4.89)
Game 2 Trevor Holder (3-3, 4.09) vs. Dylan Axelrod (8-3, 1.99)
Game 3 Jimmy Barthmaier (4-1, 3.62) vs. Terry Doyle (8-8, 3.71)
Game 4 Marcos Frias (7-5, 5.69) vs. Nathan Jones (11-6, 4.08)
Game 5 Danny Rosenbaum (3-2, 2.09) vs. Stephen Sauer (8-10, 4.89)

And — don’t underestimate this, it matters big-time — the weather forecasts…
Game 1 – 78° and clear
Game 2 – 81° and clear
Game 3 – 78° and clear
Game 4 – 76° and chance of rain (20%)
Game 5 – 73° and clear

Projected Starting Lineups
2B Dan Lyons (.221/.352/.306 , 1HR, 13RBI)
C Derek Norris (.235/.419/.419, 12HR, 49RBI)
DH Bill Rhinehart (.254/.328/.466, 14HR, 51RBI)
1B Tyler Moore (.269/.321/.552, 31HR, 111RBI)
LF Jamar Walton (.302/.309/.453, 1HR, 11RBI)
3B Robby Jacobsen (.223/.296/.352, 6HR, 37RBI)
SS Jose Lozada (.256/.307/.390, 6HR, 34RBI)
RF Nick Moresi (.236/.283/.342, 1HR, 24RBI)
CF Chris Curran (.226/.296/.305, 1HR, 17RBI)

Key Bench/Platoon Players:
C/DH – Sean Rooney (.258/.320/.400, 3HR, 22RBI)
IF – Sean Nicol (.288/.344/.390, 0HR, 9RBI)

LF Kenny Williams Jr. (.252/.306/.365, 33R, 0SB)
CF Jose Martinez (.242/.295/.347, 5HR, 24RBI)
3B Jon Gilmore (.312/.349/.394, 5HR, 80RBI)
1B Seth Loman (.292/.379/.514, 25HR, 88RBI)
DH Ozzie Lewis (.300/.358/.440, 10HR, 56RB)
RF Nick Ciolli (.375/.390/.600, 1HR, 5RBI)
C Jason Bour (.302/.376/.570, 6HR, 26RBI)
2B Andrew Garcia (.253/.318/.381, 9HR, 70RBI)
SS Greg Paiml (.272/.350/.380, 0HR, 10RBI)

Key Bench/Platoon Players:
OF – Brandon Short (.316/.365/.491, 15HR, 79RBI)
C – Luis Sierra (.293/.343/.418, 5HR, 41RBI)

Obligatory Prediction
Love to be wrong on this one, but Winston-Salem in five games

Game Four Playoffs – News and Notes

Potomac wins and advances, Harrisburg is eliminated

A four-run 3rd by the Altoona Curve broke open a 3-2 lead and sent the Senators to a 10-5 loss to end their 2010 season. But the beat goes on in Potomac with a 10-3 win over the Frederick Keys, as the P-Nats advance to the Mills Cup finals for the second time in three seasons.

Tanner Roark was taken deep three times in less than three innings, accounting for all seven runs he surrendered, as the 23-year-old also struggled with his command in walking three over 2⅓ innings. Five relievers followed but only Rafael Martin and Cole Kimball would go scoreless as the Curve put 12 hits on the board.

Chris Marrero (2-for-5) and Jhonatan Solano (3-for-4) were the heart of the Harrisburg offense, each homering while combining for five of the seven Senator hits and four of the five runs driven in. Micahel Burgess contributed the other RBI and threw out a runner at third, but went an abysmal 0-for-13 with three walks and five strikeouts during the series. Josh Johnson only reached base twice but was the offensive MVP for the Sens in the series, batting .417 with seven walks and four runs scored.

For the bullet-point folks…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
L, 10-5
(Eliminated 3-1)
Rafael Martin
1IP 0H 0R 0BB 1K
Jhonatan Solano
3-4, R, HR, 3RBI
Chris Marrero
2-5, 2R, HR, RBI
Potomac Nationals
W, 10-3
(Advances 3-1)
Rob Wort
1IP 1H 0R 1BB 0K
Chris Curran
3-4, 2R, 3B, 2RBI
Bill Rhinehart
2-4, R, 2B, 3RBI

Potomac Returns To Mills Cup Finals

Potomac past Frederick by a 10-3 score and a return trip to the Mills Cup Finals

Four big innings on offense and four innings of solid bullpen work were the, um, keys to beating Frederick as Potomac would go on to 10-3 win and return to Carolina League’s Mills Cup championship for the second time in three seasons.

Seven batters would combine for 11 hits, led by Chris Curran who tripled and singled twice for a 3-for-4 night, finishing the series at 7-for-12. Bill Rhinehart would drive in three for the second straight night, his six RBIs leading the team in the series. Potomac would score twice in the second, twice in the third, and three times in the fourth to build a 7-1 lead through four innings.

Marcos Frias would go five-plus innings to log the win, charged with three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three. The first man out of the bullpen, Carlos Martinez, was greeted with a single to load the bases with no outs in the sixth, and then gave up a double, but Chris Curran and Jose Lozada combined to gun out the last runner by a healthy margin to get the first out. Martinez struck out the next batter and got a tapper back to the mound to end the inning, the lead cut to 7-3.

Potomac’s response would come in the bottom of the seventh, plating three runs on two hits and a groundout and took advantage of three walks — the seventh, eighth and ninth that the Keys would issue — to stretch the lead to 10-3.

Zach Dials and Rob Wort would follow Martinez, each tossing a scoreless inning to seal the deal. For the series, the bullpen would pitch 15⅔ innings, allow four runs, one earned, on 18 hits and three walks, and strike out 11.

As expected, the P-Nats’ opponent will be the Winston-Salem Dash. The double-half winner swept the Kinston Indians in the other half of the playoff bracket and will host Potomac for Games 1 and 2 on Monday and Tuesday. The series finishes at Potomac, resuming for Game 3 on Thursday, with Games 4 and 5 (if necessary) slated for Friday and Saturday.

Game Three Playoffs – News and Notes

Potomac takes a 2-1 series lead, Harrisburg doesn’t

While Potomac took the 2-1 lead it was seeking with a decisive 7-1 win over Frederick, the news was not so good from Harrisburg, as the Senators dropped a 7-2 decision to the Altoona Curve.

Curve prospect Justin Wilson battled with his control (five walks in six innings pitched) but the Senators could not solve the 23-year-old, who allowed just two hits and struck out seven. Meanwhile, Ryan Tatusko was touched for three runs in the third as he gave up eight hits and two walks total over six innings. For the second straight night, the Senator bullpen was ineffective, surrendering four runs in three innings.

But you can’t win if you don’t score, and the string of goose eggs on the board wasn’t broken until the bottom of the ninth, as Adam Fox homered to break up the shutout. Harrisburg would collect just six hits total and strand eight base runners, going 1-for-10 with RISP.

Tanner Roark (1-1, 2.50) takes the hill late this afternoon, opposed by Tony Watson (6-4, 2.67), as Harrisburg looks to force a Game 5 tomorrow afternoon in Altoona.

For the bullet-point folks…

Team Pitching Star Hitting Star #1 Hitting Star #2
Harrisburg Senators
L, 7-2
Cory VanAllen
1IP 0H 0R 0BB 0K
Josh Johnson
1-1, 3BB
Steve Lombardozzi
2-4, BB
Potomac Nationals
W, 7-1
Jimmy Barthmaier (W, 1-0)
5⅔IP 2H 0R 1BB 7K
Bill Rhinehart
2-3, R, BB, HR, 3RBI
Tyler Moore
2-4, R, HR, RBI