Potomac evens series with Down East, 4-2

KINSTON, NC – For the fifth time in the last six losses, the winning run was scored in the seventh inning or later in the Nationals 4-2 win over the Wood Ducks. Jairo Beras had two hits with a homer and Michael O’Neill collected three hits in the defeat and the quest to return to .500 will wait another night.

The loss was also only the second this season in which the Woodies scored first – despite scoring as fast as possible. Beras rocked the second pitch he saw in the leadoff spot to right field for his fourth home run of the season. Potomac starter Hector Silvestre would settle down and not allow much else.

Pedro Payano‘s start was erased with a no decision. He had faced the minimum through the first eight batters before Telmito Augustin hit his first home run of the year to tie the game 1-1. Payano also induced two double plays on the night and left two runners stranded through six innings.

Down East got back on the scoreboard in the sixth after Josh Morgan led off the inning with a push bunt single. He would steal second, advance to third on a groundout, then score when Kelvin Gutierrez bobbled a ground ball at third for an unearned run. The score was 2-1 Woodies in the seventh.

Gutierrez led off the inning with a hard-hit chopper down the line at third that Josh Altmann made a diving stop on. His throw, however, sailed first base and allowed Gutierrez to reach second. Taylor Gushue (who hit two homers on Monday night) popped out for the first out of the inning. That was the end for Payano and Adam Choplick entered to relieve.

Facing his first batter, Rhett Wiseman, a passed ball eluded Morgan and allowed Gutierrez to third base. Wiseman would eventually walk and next Edwin Lora hit a bouncer to the left of the mound. Choplick corralled the ball and tried to start a double play with a throw to second, but it pulled La O off the bag. Gutierrez broke for home and scored the tying run.

Steven Bruce entered for the eighth inning and allowed Victor Robles to reach on a single. During Austin Davidson’s at-bat, Robles stole second and advanced the third on a wild pitch. Bruce struck out Davidson with the infield in but Ian Sagdal knocked a single up the middle. Later in the inning, Gushue would add an RBI single with a two-strike two-out single to right and move the P-Nats ahead 4-2.

Nationals reliever Kyle Schepel retired all eight Wood Ducks he faced from innings seven through nine with four strikeouts to claim the win for himself and the Nats. With the loss, the Woodies fall back to two games below .500 at 12-14.

Wednesday’s Education Day serves as a rubber match of the series beginning at 11:00 a.m. Left-hander Jeffrey Springs (0-2, 5.82) will throw for the Woodies, with Jeffrey Rodriguez (2-1, 4.30) for the P-Nats (13-11). You can listen to every pitch of the 2017 Wood Ducks season on Sports/Talk 960 The Bull or streamed live on the TuneIn Radio app.

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