Pena solid in Potomac’s 6-0 win over Lynchburg in series opener
Riding off of the club’s first sweep of the season, the Potomac Nationals (26-32) continued to roll with a fourth consecutive win. Behind seven-shutout innings from RHP Malvin Pena (W, 4-3), Potomac knocked off the Lynchburg Hillcats (28-30) 6-0 in the series opener on Thursday night. The P-Nats scored three times in each of the first two innings and cruised to the victory.
After a scoreless top of the first inning from Pena, Potomac loaded the bases with no outs in the home half of the inning against RHP Justin Garza (L, 3-5). LF Nick Banks reached to begin the frame on a fielding error from SS Wilbis Santiago, 2B Cole Freeman followed with a single, while 1B Aldrem Corredor drew a four-pitch walk. Garza retired DH KJ Harrison with the bases full, while RF Telmito Agustin gave the P-Nats a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly. Garza failed to get out of the inning without any further damage, as 3B Bryan Mejia plated two with a two-out double to the base of the centerfield wall. All three runs in the inning were unearned, as Potomac led 3-0 after one inning.
The P-Nats continued the offensive show with a three-run second inning, as four straight hitters singled with one out. Freeman made it 4-0 Potomac with his second hit in as many innings, while Corredor tallied his league-best 41st RBI with a run-scoring hit of his own. Agustin plated a run with two outs, as Garza was charged with three earned runs in the second frame and Potomac led 6-0. The 2.2 innings pitched were the fewest from Garza in his 12 starts for the Hillcats in 2019.
Unlike Garza, Pena was brilliant on Thursday night. He became just the second Potomac pitcher to pitch into the seventh inning in 2019 in easily his top start thus far this season. Pena, in the longest start of his career, struck out six, walked just one, and allowed only two hits. Potomac matched a season-low in hits allowed with just two as a team.
As the P-Nats search for their season-best fifth consecutive win, RHP Kyle Johnston (5-6, 4.73) is set to start for Potomac on Friday night. Johnston failed to make it through two innings in his last start but had posted five consecutive quality starts before that. For the Hillcats, RHP Jean Carlos Mejia (3-1, 4.35) is scheduled to make his eighth start of the season. Mejia tallied a win in his last outing, as the right-handed starter allowed just three hits over five-shutout innings.
First pitch at Northwest Federal Field at Pfitzner Stadium on Friday night is set for 7:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.