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After taking game one with a 14-4, 5 inning mercy rule victory, the Nationals found runs to be scarce in game 2. Limited to just 4 hits by the Sox starter, the Nationals fell to the Sox 8-2. The teams remain tied in the loss column and in their battle for second place. Efficient batting helped the Nationals in game one. Hitters worked deep into counts and chased the Sox starting pitcher early in the game. The patient plate approach led to six bases on balls and a hit batsman, nearly as many runners as reached base via hits. Jake Paige scored 4 runs in the victory while Chris Marks added three RBI. Jake Paige led the Nationals with two hits in game 2, but the team only managed two others as the bats wilted in the summer heat. The Nationals are back at it Saturday night at Zirkel Field in McCarty Park. A doubleheader versus the Landmark Inn Tavern begins at 6PM.
Saturday night the Nationals did something that the opposition had not been able to do for 32 consecutive league games. Suffering a 9-4 loss to the Cubs, the Nationals beat themselves in game 1, and ended the third longest winning streak in team history. Loose defense put the Nationals in an early 4-0 hole, and cold bats failed to produce a baserunner until the fifth inning, when the team broke through on consecutive singles by Paige, Franson, and Dettman. Despite adding another run in the sixth and two in the seventh, the team fell for the first time since July 2000. The team responded admirably in game two and played its best overall game of the young season. Unfortunately, the offense continued to struggle and the team fell 4-3 in 10 innings. Nick Kibler was the story in game two. Pitching 9.3 innings, Kibler held the potent Cubs offense to 7 hits with pinpoint control and exceptional command. Chris Marks' two run homer in the sixth inning sent the game to extra frames. A Brian Gibson single gave the team a one run lead in the eighth, but the Cubs matched in the bottom half of the inning before scoring on a single in the tenth for the victory. The team next faces the rival White Sox on Sunday night at Kuenn field. Game one starts at 6PM.
Jared Koutnik was selected with the 486th pick of the amateur baseball draft today by the New York Yankees. Congats to Jared! Check our "Other Web Sites" link to follow Jared this season.
Saturday night the Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers shared similar experiences. Both teams jumped out to big leads only to watch their opposition storm back and tie the game. Unlike the Brewers, however, the Nationals scratched out a late run to take back the victory. After jumping to a 5-0 lead, the Nationals bats and gloves went into a slumber. The team was no-hit over the final four frames and committed several costly defensive miscues to allow McGuires to storm back and tie the game at 5. Mike Wajerski changed the momentum in the seventh inning. After leading off the inning by reaching on an error, Wajerski promptly stole second and advanced to third on a groundout by Joe Reisinger. After Jim Dettman popped out on the infield for the second out, the stage was set for Wajerski's heroics. With a 2-2 count on Chris Marks, McGuires pitcher, Owen Erickson, crossed up his catcher and unleashed a wild pitch that ricocheted off the backstop. Alertly and aggressively, Wajerski raced for the plate and scored the lead run by executing a perfect headfirst slide to avoid the tag of the pitcher. With a precarious one run cushion, Dan Lorum entered the game for his first action of the year. Lorum closed the door on McGuires, earning the save. Jim Dettman started on the bump for the Nationals, but struggled with his command. Tim Spata relieved Dettman in the fifth and earned his second win of the young season. Joe Reisinger and Alex Franson led the offense with two hits each. The nightcap offered no such drama. The Nationals sent 14 men to the plate in the top of the first inning while jumping out to a 10-0 lead. Chris Marks knocked in 4 runs in the inning with a double and triple. The team ripped a season game high 16 hits in the blowout with multiple hit games from Wajerski, Reisinger, Dettman, Marks, Koepp, Paige, and Franson. Nick Kibler was dominant on the mound. Kibler struck out 5 in 4 innings of work while allowing only one hit. Joe Kissler mopped up in the fifth.
The two-time defending champions opened the league season in impressive fashion Sunday night. In a road DH versus the expansion Landmark Inn franchise the Nationals cruised to 18-0 and 11-0 victories. Rain shortened game two to three innings, but Landmark conceded the victory. There was no shortage of impressive performances. Leading the offense were Jim Dettman, Chris Marks, Alex Franson, and newcomer Mike Wajerski. Each contributed multiple hit games. Tim Spata was the winning pitcher in game one, going the distance while striking out 6 and walking 2. Nick Kibler cruised in the rain shortened nightcap. Kibler struck out 8 and walked 4 in the rain-shortened contest. FOR COMPLETE STATS ON THE GAME CLICK ON THE APPROPRIATE LINK IN THE LEFT HAND COLUMN.