Pitching lifts Lynchburg Hillcats past P-Nats, 8-2
For the second consecutive night, the Lynchburg Hillcats (9-7) used a dominant pitching performance from their starter in route to a victory over the Potomac Nationals (9-8). RHP Jake Paulson (W, 2-1) allowed just two runs, one earned, over seven innings, his longest outing since 2015. The Hillcats scored five runs over the final two innings, which turned a close game into an eventual blowout. Lynchburg has allowed just six earned runs as a club over its past six games.
Lynchburg scored the first run of the matchup for the third consecutive game. C Li-Jen Chu led off the second inning with a single against RHP Sterling Sharp (L, 1-2). Two batters later, LF Jodd Carter made it 1-0 Lynchburg with an RBI single.
After Paulson retired the first seven Potomac hitters of the game, he allowed consecutive one-out singles to 2B Bryan Mejia and LF Telmito Agustin in the third inning. After CF Blake Perkins walked, it appeared as though Paulson got out of the jam, as SS Carter Kieboom grounded out to SS Luke Wakamatsu. But after the Hillcats got the out at second base, the relay throw from 2B Dillon Persinger sailed past first base. Instead of a double play, two runs scored on the fielder’s choice plus the error on the Lynchburg second baseman. Potomac left a runner on base in the inning, and then did not get another man on base until 1B Jake Noll began the seventh inning with a single.
The Hillcats took the lead back with a pair of two-out runs in the fifth inning against Sharp. After hits from 3B Erlin Cerda and RF Mitch Longo, CF Conner Capel tallied a two-run double. The first of two doubles on the night for the Lynchburg centerfielder made it 3-2 Hillcats and proved to be the eventual game-winning hit. Sharp notched a quality start, as he allowed three runs on six hits over six innings.
After a scoreless inning on the mound for LHP Hayden Howard out of the Potomac bullpen, the lefty ran into two-out trouble in the top of the eighth inning. 1B Emmanuel Tapia walked, while LF Jodd Carter followed with his first home run of the season. DH Logan Ice knocked Howard out of the game with a single, and later scored on a throwing error by Mejia. In the ninth, Lynchburg scored two runs against RHP Gabe Klobosits, one on an RBI double from Capel, and one on a throwing error by Kieboom.
The two teams are set to meet in the series finale on Sunday afternoon. For Potomac, RHP Joan Baez (0-1, 5.23) will make his fourth start of the season. In two of his first three outings of 2018, Baez has allowed no more than one earned run. LHP Sam Hentges (2-0, 0.56) is set to go for the Hillcats in search of the series win. Hentges has allowed just one earned run over his first three Carolina League starts.
First pitch on Sunday is set for 1:05pm. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 12:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Sponsorship opportunities for the P-Nats’ 2018 season and beyond are available, as well as all-inclusive corporate picnic outings to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. 2018 Potomac Nationals season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2018 season tickets, mini plans, group outings, picnic packages, fundraisers, and all things Red, White, and Blue, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com, follow the P-Nats on Facebook (@PotomacNationals), Twitter (@PNats42), and Instagram (@pnats42), or call the Potomac Nationals’ Extreme Custom Collision Ticket Office at 703-590-2311.