Hillcats top Nationals, 5-2

Aaron Civale went seven innings for his seventh straight start and earned his sixth consecutive victory as a result, as the Hillcats (82-52) defeated Potomac (62-73) at City Stadium Wednesday, 5-2.

lynchburg hillcatsCivale only allowed two runs, which both occurred as a byproduct of a fly ball lost by the outfielders in the rain. The right-hander held the Nationals to four hits in total and struck out eight while walking none. He improved his record to 11-2, which ties him with teammate Triston McKenzie for the league lead in wins.

Civale has an ERA of 2.59, which would lead the Carolina League if he had enough innings to qualify. Kieran Lovegrove struck out two in the eighth inning to earn a hold, and Luke Eubank struck out the side after a leadoff walk to notch his third save in as many chances.

Lynchburg scored its first two runs without the benefit of a base hit in the second inning. Martin Cervenka and Connor Marabellboth drew walks to open the frame. Back-to-back groundouts produced the first run. Daniel Salters picked up his 30th RBI on a groundball to the right side of the infield. Marabell scored on a passed ball.

The Hillcats pushed their lead to 3-0 in the fourth when Ka’ai Tom walked and Cervenka doubled to drive him in. Potomac cut the margin to 3-2 in the fifth. In the seventh, Anthony Miller and Salters had back-to-back one-out singles. Claudio Bautista knocked in two runs with two outs to stretch the lead to 5-2.

Lynchburg wraps up the home portion of its regular-season slate Thursday at 6:30 p.m. McKenzie (11-6, 3.57) will make his final start before the playoffs. It’s Fan Appreciation Night, and each fan in attendance will receive a free raffle ticket to win autographed memorabilia and other prizes. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. For those who cannot attend, the game can be heard live at www.lynchburg-hillcats.com.

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