P-Nats hold off Hillcats, 2-1

Potomac NationalsA night after a dramatic come from behind ninth inning win, the Potomac Nationals (43-44, 6-14) scored twice in the middle innings, and clung on for a 2-1 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats (41-46, 12-8). Lynchburg left the tying run at second base in the eighth inning, and the tying run at first base in the ninth frame.

In his Carolina League debut, RHP Kyle Johnston (W, 1-0) pitched six-shutout innings. Johnston allowed seven hits and struck out three. The right-handed starter induced three double plays in the start, as the Hillcats went 0-7 with RISP in the loss.

LHP Sam Hentges (L, 5-6) cruised through three innings for Lynchburg, as he struck out seven of the first 11 batters that he faced. Potomac then had five straight men reach base in the fourth inning, but failed to score, as DH Ian Sagdal was caught stealing at second base, and LF Nick Basto was thrown out at the plate on a bases loaded groundout.

In the fifth inning, Potomac finally got to Hentges, as SS Edwin Lora led off with a double, while a bunt single from 2B Bryan Mejia put men on the corners with no outs. Lora scored on a double play groundout from CF Jack Sundberg. Sagdal followed with a single, but he was later thrown out at the plate on a two-out double from Basto.

An inning later, the P-Nats made it 2-0, as 1B Aldrem Corredor led off the frame with a walk against Hentges. The left-handed starter quickly retired the next two hitters, as Corredor moved to second base. With two outs, C Jakson Reetz provided the eventual game-winning hit with an RBI single past 2B Jorma Rodriguez. Hentges departed for RHP Jared Robinson, who combined with LHP Ben Krauth for 3.1 innings of shutout relief for the Hillcats.

After six frames from Johnston, the P-Nats got a scoreless seventh inning from RHP A.J. Bogucki. In the eighth inning, RHP Jorge Pantoja gave up a one-out single to LF Conner Capel, who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from RF Trenton Brooks. A single from CF Jodd Carter pushed the potential tying run to second base, but Pantoja struck out DH Dillon Persinger, which ended the frame. In the ninth inning, RHP James Bourque (SV, 5) allowed a one-out single to Rodriguez, but picked up two strikeouts and a groundout, as he notched a save for the second straight game.

Despite a loss in the series opener, the P-Nats will turn to Thursday with a chance to take three of four from the Hillcats. On Thursday night, RHP Joan Baez (3-8, 4.86) is set to make the start for Potomac. Baez has failed to make it through five innings in three consecutive starts. For the Hillcats, LHP Tanner Tully (3-8, 4.73) will search for a series split. Tully has recorded a quality start in five straight outings, but has just one win over that span.

First pitch at Calvin Falwell Field on Thursday is set for 6:30pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:15pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com, at http://bit.ly/P-NatsBroadcast, or on the TuneIn Radio App.

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