Home runs power P-Nats past Lynchburg Hillcats, 7-1

Potomac NationalsBehind three solo home runs and a dominant pitching performance from RHP Tyler Mapes (W, 5-1), the Potomac Nationals (31-27) earned a series victory with a 7-1 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats (27-31) on Sunday afternoon. LF Jack Sundberg, SS Carter Kieboom, and 3B Jake Noll each hit a home run in the victory, as Potomac now sits 4.0 games ahead of the Hillcats in the Northern Division standings.

The teams traded zeroes through the first three frames, but Potomac struck first against RHP Justin Garza (L, 2-4). A start after he allowed eight runs over just 1.1 innings, Garza allowed just two runs, one earned, over five frames. With runners on the corners and one out in the top of the fourth inning, Garza struck out 1B Ian Sagdal, but Noll broke for second base, and the throw from C Li-Jen Chu went into centerfield, which allowed DH Alec Keller to score the first run of the game. It was the first of two errors in the game for the Lynchburg catcher.

In the fifth frame, Sundberg hit his first home run of the season, a solo blast that he tucked just inside the right field foul pole. The following inning, Kieboom homered over the batter’s eye in centerfield, while Noll followed with a blast down the left field line two batters later, as the P-Nats took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning. The latter two home runs came off of LHP Anderson Polanco.

Mapes dominated the Hillcats in his third start vs. Lynchburg in 2018. The right-handed starter faced just one over the minimum through the first five innings, while the lone blemish on his line came in the sixth frame. 3B Alexis Pantoja led off with a single, while 2B Dillon Persinger walked with two outs. DH Trenton Brooks put the Hillcats on the board with a two-out RBI single, the lone run of the night for the home team.

Potomac got a run on a two-out RBI single by Noll in the seventh inning against Polanco, and then plated two unearned runs against RHP Luis Jimenez in the ninth inning. With the bases loaded and two outs in the final frame, C Tres Barrera popped up a ball no more than five feet down the first base line, but Chu dropped it in fair territory for his second error of the game. The error plated two runs and made it 7-1 Potomac, the eventual final.

Out of the Potomac bullpen, LHP Hayden Howard faced the minimum over two scoreless frames. Despite an error by Noll to begin the ninth, Howard induced a double play to end the game.

Off of the series win, Potomac will head to Salem to begin a five-game series over the next three days vs. the Red Sox. The teams sit in first and second place in the Northern Division. Doubleheaders are scheduled for both Monday and Wednesday night.

First pitch at Haley Toyota Field on Monday night is set for 5:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 4:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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