It seemed like a must-win situation Friday for the high Single-A Potomac Nationals, down three games to the Frederick Keys with three scheduled games over the weekend.
One down, two to go after a 6-4 win over Frederick on Friday night.
Displaying his best stuff since the beginning of the season, right-hander Robert Gilliam (1-1) came up clutch and kept the Keys at bay, going 7 2/3 innings. He allowed six hits, two runs, one walk and had eight strikeouts. Gilliam faced 28 batters, tallying six groundouts and four flyouts.
Showing he can hit for power and produce big plays, outfielder Steven Souza Jr., hit his fifth homer in the second inning. He later added another RBI and finished 2-for-5. Souza, who has battled back from a knee injury, is now batting .358.
Designated hitter Matt Skole went 3-for-5 with a double, run and RBI. Skole is hitting .316.
Right fielder Francisco Soriano led off and went 2-for-5. Shortstop Ricky Hague also had two hits and a run scored. Third baseman Jason Martinson added to the fun by going 2-for-3.
Frederick right-hander Kevin Gausman (0-1), the fourth overall selection in the June draft, took the loss, going three innings and yielding five hits, including Souza’s bomb, with no walks and three strikeouts. The Orioles are keeping him at three innings for his first two starts as they ease him into a larger workload.
Rob Wort came on in the ninth after Joe Testa struggled a bit, and notched his 11th save of the season.
But in a season where the P-Nats have had a difficult time maintaining offensive consistency, 14 hits and runs in six consecutive innings is an extremely positive result.
Now the P-Nats look for another win in the series tonight. With nine games left on the schedule, it is not the playoffs yet, but this is a great test for the men from Woodbridge.
So far, so good.