Lynchburg Hillcats drop seventh in a row
Another offensive onslaught from Potomac spoiled an otherwise great night at the plate for the Hillcats. Everyone in the Lynchburg lineup recorded a hit, and three had multi-hit efforts. Three players posted multiple RBIs. Bradley Zimmer hit his third home run in as many games, but the Potomac Nationals came out on top, 15-8, after scoring in six different innings, including a six-run ninth.
Potomac got the scoring started in the first frame for the third consecutive game at City Stadium with a two-spot. Wilmer Difolead off the game with a bunt single and immediately swiped second base. He scored the game’s first run when Isaac Ballouhit an RBI double to left field. Ballou advanced to third on a throwing error on the play and scored on a sacrifice fly by Spencer Kieboom.
The Hillcats answered right back in the bottom half with four runs of their own. Joe Sever scored on a Nellie Rodriguez RBI single. After a Mike Papi single, Alex Monsalve drove in Rodriguez. Luigi Rodriguez stayed hot at home and drove in Papiand Monsalve one batter later to put the ‘Cats up 4-2.
The Nationals retook the lead with three in the second, two more in the third and one in the fourth for an 8-4 score. Difo picked up his first RBI of the contest in the second with an RBI single. It would not be his last.
Lynchburg mounted another comeback and cut its deficit to one, 8-7, with three in the fifth. The inning included a sacrifice fly from Zimmer that scored Clint Frazier and the second RBI single of the evening for Monsalve that brought home Nellie Rodriguez, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
The two sides exchanged runs in the seventh, with the Hillcats’ run coming on a mammoth home run from Zimmer to center field. Zimmer hit the ball over the American flag that stand roughly 20 feet above the batter’s eye. With that blast, he has homered in all three games at home this season.
Still leading 9-8 in the ninth, Potomac added to the ninth-inning troubles for the ‘Cats, throwing a six-spot on the board. The big blow came from the bat of Difo, who hit a grand slam off of Delvy Francisco over the right field wall to give the P-Nats a 15-8 lead. Difo finished his night with five hits, five RBIs, and three runs.
With the six runs, Lynchburg has now given up 24 runs in the ninth and is being outscored 24-4 in the final frame this season. Third baseman Joe Sever relieved Francisco and recorded the final out of the ninth. It was Sever’s second time pitching this season. He pitched the 14th and 15th innings in Frederick and has not allowed a hit in his two appearances.
Zimmer collected his second hit of the contest in the ninth, but it was the only hit of the inning, and the Hillcats fell by a final of 15-8.
The Hillcats conclude their four-game set with the Nationals on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at City Stadium for Good Report Card Day, presented by Virginia 529. K-8 students get a free ticket for report cards with all A’s and B’s or better. Fans who can’t make it out to the ballpark can tune in to ESPN Virginia 93.3 FM and 1320 AM beginning at 1:40 p.m. for the Hillcats On-Deck Show.