P-Nats blast Lynchburg, 8-3
For the second consecutive night, the Potomac Nationals (13-10) pulled off a come from behind win over the Lynchburg Hillcats (12-10). Down 2-0 three batters into the home half of the first inning, Potomac rattled off eight straight runs in route to an 8-3 victory. RF Juan Soto had a hit in three straight innings in the middle third of the game, his first three-hit game with Potomac, while six different Potomac starters tallied at least two hits.
On the mound for the second straight time vs. Lynchburg, RHP Joan Baez (W, 1-1) fell behind early, but like many Potomac pitchers over the last two weeks, limited the damage and saw the league’s top ranked offense propel him to a victory. LF Mitch Longo led off Lynchburg’s offensive night with a double, took third base on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly from DH Jodd Carter. One batter later, CF Conner Capel homered down the right field line, as the Hillcats led 2-0 after one inning.
RHP Jake Paulson (L, 2-2) breezed through much of the first three innings of play for Lynchburg, but succumbed to the Potomac offense in the fourth inning. SS Carter Kieboom led off with a single, and then scored on an RBI double from Soto. Three batters later, C Tres Barrera tied the game with an RBI single, though Potomac left the bases loaded.
An inning later, the P-Nats knocked Paulson out of the game with a five-run frame. 10 batters came to the plate in the inning, as 3B Jake Noll put the P-Nats ahead 3-2 with an RBI groundout, DH Ian Sagdal made it 4-2 with an RBI single, and LF Rhett Wiseman made it 7-2 with a two-out, three-run home run. Potomac added a run in the sixth against LHP Billy Strode, and it was more than enough for the Potomac pitching staff.
After five innings from Baez, Potomac turned to RHP Jorge Pantoja. The righty retired the first eight batters that he faced, but gave up three consecutive two-out singles in the eighth, which plated a run for the Hillcats. Pantoja escaped any further damage in the inning, while RHP Ronald Pena worked around a pair of singles in a scoreless ninth inning.
Potomac surrendered the first run of the contest for the ninth consecutive game, but improved to 5-4 over that stretch. Potomac fell both one run and one hit shy of the club’s respective season highs. The P-Nats have responded to their first shutout of the season on Thursday night with 17 runs over the past two games, both victories over Lynchburg. Potomac currently sits three games over .500, which matches a season high.
For the second time in less than a week, the P-Nats will have an opportunity for a series sweep. After a missed chance in the finale vs. Wilmington, Potomac will turn to RHP Tyler Mapes (3-0, 2.05) on Sunday afternoon. Mapes has consecutive quality starts and has pitched at least five innings in all four of his outings this season. For the Hillcats, LHP Sam Hentges (2-0, 2.29) will make his second straight start vs. Potomac. Last time out against the P-Nats, Hentges allowed four runs over 3.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season.
First pitch at Calvin Falwell Field on Sunday afternoon is set for 2:00pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 1:45pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.