Potomac Nationals earn extra innings walk-off win
The Potomac Nationals (9-6) saw the new extra innings rule for the first time, as they defeated the Lynchburg Hillcats (7-7) 5-4 in 10 innings. With the new runner on second base to start each half of any extra innings, both teams scored that runner, but 3B Jake Noll plated SS Carter Kieboom for a walk-off single. The P-Nats got back-to-back RBI singles from DH Austin Davidson and Noll to tie the game and pick up the win respectively.
Potomac didn’t lead until the final hit of the game, as the Hillcats plated a run in the top of the first inning. RHP Wil Crowe (ND) allowed an RBI single to 1B Emmanuel Tapia in the frame, while DH Mitch Longo made it 2-0 Lynchburg with an RBI groundout. Crowe allowed three runs over six innings for Potomac’s second consecutive quality start.
The P-Nats got a run back against LHP Tanner Tully (ND) in the home half of the second inning, as Noll led off the frame with a triple into the right field corner, and C Tres Barrera followed with an RBI double down the right field line. Potomac started the night 2-11 with RISP, but finished 4-13 with the 10th inning singles from Davidson and Noll.
The Hillcats extended the lead back up to two runs on a solo home run from C Li-Jen Chu in the sixth inning. Crowe then retired the next three batters, as he completed six innings for the first time in the Carolina League.
Sloppy defense from Lynchburg played a large part in the final two runs Potomac scored before extra innings. In the bottom of the seventh, Noll and C Tres Barrera pulled off a double steal, and a throwing error by Chu allowed Noll to score. In the eighth inning, LHP Ben Krauth retired CF Blake Perkins to start the inning, but Kieboom and Davidson both reached on errors by the two Lynchburg middle infielders. The Hillcats brought their closer into the game, but RHP Henry Martinez allowed a game-tying bloop single to Barrera.
After both teams went scoreless in the ninth frame, the squads took the field for the 10th inning for the first time this season. With the new extra innings rule in place, both teams scored a run fairly easily. In the top half of the frame, RHP James Bourque (W, 1-1) saw consecutive fly balls to right field plate SS Luke Wakamatsu, who started the inning at second base. Perkins started at second base in the home half of the inning, and after Kieboom drew a walk, scored on Davidson’s single to centerfield. One batter later, Noll ended the game with his own RBI single to centerfield, as Kieboom scored the game winning run.
A season-best three games over .500 after the walk-off win, the P-Nats will try to make it consecutive wins over Lynchburg, as LHP Matthew Crownover (1-0, 3.12) is scheduled to start for Potomac. Crownover has gone at least 5.2 innings in all three of his starts in 2018, and has yet to allow more than three earned runs. For the Hillcats, RHP Justin Garza (1-0, 0.00) will make his third start of the season. Garza has gone consecutive starts of five innings and two hits.
First pitch 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.