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P-Nats complete sweep of first-place Hillcats

Robbie Ray tossed his best start as a professional and Ricky Hague drove in five runs as the Potomac Nationals finished off a three-game sweep of the Lynchburg Hillcats with an 8-0 victory.  Potomac has won four games in a row for the first time this season and is within 3.5 games of first place Lynchburg in the Northern Division.

In the longest start of his career, Ray threw eight shutout innings yielding just two hits and a walk.  He matched his career high with nine strikeouts as he faced only two batters above the minimum throwing 94 pitches.  Ray lowered his season ERA from 6.66 to 5.01 with the eight scoreless frames.

Potomac jumped on the board early with three unearned runs in the first inning against Lynchburg spot starter Blaine Sims.  With Blake Kelso at second and Ricky Hague at first, both attempted to steal a base.  Catcher Braeden Schlehuber’s throw to second got away and Kelso was able to score from third on the error.  Zach Walters followed with his third home run in as many games to push the P-Nats advantage to 3-0.

The P-Nats added three more runs in the second inning.  With two outs and Kelso and Adrian Sanchez on the base paths, Ricky Hague doubled the Potomac lead with a three-run home run down the right field line, his second of the year, to make it 6-0.

Sanchez was 1-for-5 on the afternoon and now owns the longest hit streak of any National this season at ten games.

Hague contributed once again in the fourth inning with an RBI single to shallow center field that scored Randolph Oduber to extend the lead to 7-0.

Sims (0-1) made his first start of the season for the Hillcats and lasted five innings.  He took the loss allowing seven runs, three of them earned, on seven hits.

The Nationals added another insurance run in the sixth inning.  Hague picked up his fifth RBI of the game with a fielder’s choice that brought home Oduber.  The five RBIs by Hague are the most by any P-Nat this season.