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P-Nats take down Hillcats, take series

The Potomac Nationals pounded out 14 hits en route to an 11-8 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats at Pfitzner Stadium.  Potomac won three of four games in the series and has won six of the last seven against Lynchburg in Woodbridge.

For the third straight game, the Hillcats got on the scoreboard first.  With one out, Nick Ahmed singled, stole a base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch.   Ahmed then scored on a sacrifice fly by Shawn McGill to break the scoreless tie.  Lynchburg then started up a two-out rally.  Adam Milligan doubled and then scored on a double by Braeden Schlehuber to up the lead to 2-0.

The P-Nats responded right away with two runs of their own in the bottom of the third.  After J.P Ramirez and Erick Fernandez started the frame with back-to-back singles, Adrian Sanchez singled home Ramirez to cut the deficit in half.  Xavier Nady tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI groundout that scored Fernandez.

Potomac took the lead in the bottom of the fourth scoring four more runs.  Jason Martinson, Michael Taylor, and Stephen King reached base to start the inning against Cody Martin.  Fernandez gave the Nats the lead at 3-2 with a single to right field that scored Martinson.  Two batters later, Ricky Hague cleared the bases with a three-run triple down the right field line that extended the P-Nat advantage to 6-2.

But that lead would be short lived.  Lynchburg tacked on a run in the fifth inning and retook the lead courtesy of four two-out runs in the sixth.  Bobby Stevens reached on a two-out throwing error by Hague and the Hillcats began their comeback.  Emerson Landoni followed with a single and an RBI single by Mycal Jones made it 6-4.  Ahmed then launched a three-run home run off the video board in left-center field to regain the lead for Lynchburg at 7-6.

Matt Grace (5-9) went the first six innings for the Nationals and earned his fifth win of the season.  He gave up seven runs, three of them earned on eleven hits.

The back-and-forth slugfest continued in the bottom of the sixth as Potomac countered with three more runs.  Ramirez and Fernadez singled to start the inning and another RBI single by Sanchez tied the game at 7-7.  Hague put Potomac back in front with an RBI groundout and a sacrifice fly by Blake Kelso made it 9-7 Nationals.

Potomac added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings thanks to an RBI fielder’s choice by Ramirez and an RBI single by Martinson to increase the lead to 11-7.

Schlehuber picked up his third RBI of the game in the ninth inning with a double off Aaron Barrett that scored Ahmed and made it 11-8.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press