Potomac Nationals top Lynchburg Hillcats in series opener
With the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning, and the Hillcats down 4-3, Anderson Polanco was brought in from the bullpen. On the very first pitch he threw, Bryan Mejia launched a grand slam to cap off a five-run seventh for the Nats.
The Hillcats (12-9) dropped just their second game this season when scoring first, and are now 3-2 against the Nats (12-10) in 2018.
Lynchburg started off the night strong, plating three runs in the second inning. It began with a leadoff double from Jodd Carter. Then with two outs, the Hillcats received three consecutive RBI hits, with doubles from Anthony Miller and Erlin Cerda, and a single from Mitch Longo to take a 3-0 lead against Potomac starter Sterling Sharp (Win, 2-2).
Longo extended his hitting streak to a league-best 12 games, and has reached base in all 17 games played this season.
That was all the offense that the Hillcats were able to muster, as Sharp would go on to throw six strong innings, striking out four, and giving up just one walk and six hits.
Micah Miniard made the start for Lynchburg was able to skirt around trouble in the first few innings, using double play balls in the second and third to keep the P-Nats off the scoreboard.
Potomac got to Miniard for a run in the fourth on a two-out single from Rhett Wiseman, to bring home Jake Noll, who drew a walk to start the frame.
Then In the fifth, Miniard gave up a single and two walks to load the bases, forcing skipper Rougie Odor to go to the bullpen. Justin Garcia (Loss, 0-1), who was just added to the roster this afternoon, was summoned in relief.
Garcia allowed two inherited runners to score, on an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, but was able to avoid further trouble, as the game was tied at 3-3 after the fifth.
Garcia ran into trouble in the seventh. He allowed three straight hits, including a bunt single from Jackson Reetz that plated the go-ahead run. Following a walk to Wiseman to load the bases, Odor called on Polanco, who gave up a first pitch homer to Mejia, as the deficit ballooned to 8-3 to put the game out of reach.
Miniard allowed three earned runs on four hits and walked five in 4.1 innings. Garcia gave up four earned runs on four hits in two innings, and Polanco allowed two runs (one earned) in 2.1 frames in relief.
The Hillcats will look to even the series on Saturday night when they send right-hander Jake Paulson (2-1, 2.20) to the mound to face off with fellow righty Yoan Baez (0-1, 5.28) of Potomac.
First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. on Autism Awareness night, presented by Presented by Physicians Treatment Center of Lynchburg. The first 1,000 fans will receive a complimentary t-shirt giveaway. Players and coaches will wear customized jerseys that will be auctioned off during the contest, with all of the proceeds benefiting Growth Through Opportunity It’s also the first Sparkling Saturday fireworks night of the season.
Max Gun and Matt Present will bring you the action live beginning at 5:50 p.m. on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
For tickets and more information visit Lynchburg-hillcats.com, the City Stadium box office, or call 434-528-1144.