Home Potomac Nationals hold off Hillcats rally, win 4-2

Potomac Nationals hold off Hillcats rally, win 4-2


potomac nationalsA trio of pitchers for the Potomac Nationals (58-66-Overall, 29-35-Road, 25-29-Secon Half) allowed just two runs to the first place Lynchburg Hillcats (64-61-Overall, 33-28-Home, 31-24-Second Half), as the P-Nats defeated the ‘Cats 4-2 to even the series at a win apiece at Calvin Frawley Field on Saturday night.

The Nationals, against RHP Dace Kime (3-7, 4.56), scored a run in the top of the first when CF Rafael Bautista was hit square in the back on the first pitch of the ballgame to begin the rally. DH Alec Keller, who had a three hit night, followed with a hit-and-run single that pushed Bautista to third and then RF Brenden Webb lofted a fly ball to right field that scored Bautista for a 1-0 Nationals lead.

LHP Mathew Spann (2-6, 4.67), making his 11th start of the season for Potomac, gave the run right back in the bottom of the first. He retired the first two batters on four pitches and then CF Clint Frazier singled. 1B Joe Sever took a free pass and LF Dorssys Paulino knocked in Frazier with an RBI single to tie the game 1-1.

After a one, two, three top of the second turned in by Kime, Span once again retired the first two batters of the inning with ease. SS Ivan Castillo reached on error charged to Spann himself to begin the rally. Back-to-back singles followed to load the bases before Frazier flew out to right field to end the rally. Spann threw 52 pitches in just the first two innings but the game remained tied 1-1.

After stranding the bases loaded in the second inning Spann went on to retire ten straight Hillcats through the fifth, his final frame. Spann, in his five innings allowed four hits and one run (earned) with a walk and two strikeouts, earning the win.

Kime, retired seven in a row from the final out in the first until the first batter, which was Keller who singled again in the fourth. A double play ball wiped out the rally and the game remained 1-1 until the top of the fifth.

SS Stephen Perez doubled to begin the inning and the rally. 2B Khayyan Norfork hit a comebacker to Kime who caught Perez in a run down and ultimately he was retired on the base paths. Norfork was able to scamper up to second base during the run down of Perez. After a C Zach Wright strikeouts, LF Estarlin Martinez knocked a huge two-out, RBI double to give Potomac a 2-1 advantage.

Kime came back out for the sixth inning and Bautista got him for a double. Raffi swiped third base, his team-leading 20thstolen base before coming in on Keller’s third single of the game for a 3-1 Potomac lead. Webb hit a fielder’s choice ball that saw 3B Paul Hendrix misfire to second base allowing Keller to go to third base and Webb to move up to second. A Kime wild pitch brought Keller home for a 4-1 Nationals lead.

Kime pitched six innings in the loss, allowing six hits, four runs (three earned) on one walk and he struck out four.

RHP Brian Dupra entered and pitched three scoreless frames giving up three hits and striking out two to bridge the gap to the ninth inning.

Lynchburg sent a three men to the mound, RHP Robert Aviles in the seventh, LHP David Speer for the eighth and RHP J.P Feyereisen for the ninth. Each bullpen arm recorded one scoreless inning to keep it a 4-1 ballgame heading to the bottom of the ninth.

RHP Phillips Valdez (SV 4) was summoned to the mound to close the win and pick up the save. He issued a lead-off walk to C Eric Haase. RF Bobby Ison singled and 2B Claudio Bautista hit an RBI single to make it a 4-2 contest in favor of the P-Nats. Castillo, trying to bunt reached on a fielder’s choice ball that saw Wright throw out the lead runner at third base for the first out. Valdez then took it upon himself to close out the game, striking out DH Levon Washington and then Hendrix to ink the win for Spann and his fourth save of the season.

Potomac evened the series setting up the rubber match tomorrow afternoon from Lynchburg City Stadium and they are now 12-11 against their Northern Division rival Hillcats.

In the rubber match the Nationals will send just promoted RHP Jeff Howell (0-0, 0.00) to the mound against the Hillcats RHP Michael People (9-3, 3.76).

You can listen live at www.potomacnationals.com and via the TuneIn Radio App starting at 3:45 pm with “The P-Nats Lead-Off Show” starting off the broadcast and taking you up to first pitch for Game Two at 4:00 pm.



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