Late rally falls short in P-Nats loss
Though the club rallied in the final frame, the Potomac Nationals (41-44, 4-13) fell for the fifth consecutive game, as they dropped Monday night’s series opener 6-3 to the Lynchburg Hillcats (41-44, 12-6). Potomac fell behind 4-0 after two innings, and despite a comeback attempt, left the three tying runs on base in the final frame. It was the 10th loss in the last 11 games for Potomac.
Lynchburg jumped out to an early lead, as the P-Nats surrendered the first run of the contest for ninth time in the last 10 games. Two batters into the home half of the first inning, LF Mitch Longo connected with a solo home run off of RHP Matthew DeRosier (L, 0-2). Longo matched a career high with four RBIs in the victory.
Longo connected once more in the following frame, as his two-run, two-out single off of DeRosier gave Lynchburg a 4-0 lead. DeRosier allowed five runs, all earned, in five innings.
The early offense proved to be more than enough for RHP Zach Plesac (W, 6-4), who picked up his third win in three starts against Potomac. Plesac took a shutout into the seventh inning, as he departed for RHP Leandro Linares with two men on base and two outs. Linares allowed both inherited runners to score on a two-out single from 1B David Masters, but the right-handed reliever struck out 2B Bryan Mejia to end the frame.
The Hillcats got a run back in the home half of the seventh inning against RHP Steven Fuentes, as a pair of singles, a walk, an E1, and a wild pitch led to an insurance run. LHP Taylor Guilbeau then worked a perfect eighth inning out of the bullpen for the P-Nats.
In the final frame, Linares failed to get through the inning. RF Rhett Wiseman drew a leadoff walk, while a single from LF Nick Banks put men on the corners with no outs. Linares settled in and picked up two straight strikeouts, but then walked Masters. Ball four to Masters got behind C Li-Jen Chu, which plated Wiseman and made it 6-3. The Hillcats went back to the bullpen and brought in RHP James Karinchak (SV, 10), who immediately walked Mejia on five pitches. The walk loaded the bases and brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate, but SS Luis Garcia fouled out to 3B Alexis Pantoja to end the game.
In an effort to avoid a season-high six-game losing streak, the P-Nats will get some help from the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night, as RHP Stephen Strasburg is set to make a rehab start. Strasburg is 6-6 with a 3.46 ERA for the Nationals thus far in 2018. For the Hillcats, RHP Justin Garza (4-6, 3.77) will look to pick up his second win of 2018 vs. Potomac. Garza has tallied a quality start in each of his last two outings, and has allowed no more than three earned runs in any of his last five starts.
First pitch at Calvin Falwell Field on Tuesday is set for 6:30pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:15pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com, at http://bit.ly/P-NatsBroadcast, or on the TuneIn Radio App.