Lynchburg holds on
The Hillcats snapped a two-game slide with a 6-4 win over the Potomac Nationals tonight. The Nationals brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth but closer Matt Chaffee struck out Adrian Sanchez looking to end the game and secure the win for the Hillcats.
Second baseman Tommy La Stella put the Hillcats on the board first with an RBI double scoring Matt Lipka in the top of the first inning. The Nationals answered in the second inning with a Kevin Keyes solo home run. It was Keyes’ second home run in as many nights against the Hillcats this weekend.
La Stella continued to torment Potomac starter Adam Olbrychowski with a two-run single in the third inning for his 11th and 12th RBI of the season. Of his league leading 12 RBI, six have come with Olbrychowski on the mound. The 3-1 lead did not last long. In the fourth, catcher David Freitas doubled in a pair of runs for the Nationals to tie the game at 3-3.
The Hillcats regained the lead in the fifth. Shortstop Nick Ahmed singled in Kyle Rose from second base. In the sixth, Braeden Schlehuber had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to extend the lead to 5-3, and Lipka added the final Lynchburg run with a solo blast in the seventh. It was his first long ball of the season and first RBI of the year as well. The ‘Cats led 6-3.
RHP J.R. Graham (2-0) started for the Hillcats and earned his second win of the season. He went six innings, allowing just three runs on four hits, while striking out six. Olbrychowski (0-2) suffered the loss for Potomac, his second at the hands of the Hillcats. He surrendered five runs on six hits in five and one-third innings.
RHP Andrew Wilson relieved Graham for the Hillcats in the seventh inning. He sat down six in a row, and struck out four in two perfect frames. LHP Matt Chaffee entered for the save in the ninth. He retired his first two batters he faced. After a double and a single, the Nationals cut the lead to 6-4 and brought the tying run to the plate. Chaffee struck out Sanchez and earned his second save of the season.
The Hillcats are now 6-2 and in first place in the Carolina League Northern Division.
The series finale and rubber match of the three-game set will be played Sunday afternoon at 1:05pm. RHP Aaron Northcraft (1-0, 1.59) will start for the ‘Cats against LHP Matt Grace (1-0, 1.80) for the Nationals. The Hillcats On-Deck Show will go on the air at 12:40pm. Catch all the action with Erik Wilson on 105.5 FM KD Country and online and lynchburg-hillcats.com