(Lynchburg, VA) Steven Souza hit a home run in his third straight game, but Potomac came up one run short in a 7-6 loss to Lynchburg on Sunday afternoon.
The power-hitting first baseman launched his 8th homer of the season in a five-run sixth for the P-Nats. Shortstop Jose Lozada and right fielder Destin Hood both led off the inning with doubles, getting Potomac on the board for the first time in the game. After a J.P. Ramirez strikeout, Souza crunched a two-run shot that went more than 400 feet. It went just to the left of straight-away center, which is label as 390 feet at City Stadium. It gave Souza his league-leading 31st and 32nd RBI.
A walk from Brian Peacock (his second of the day) forced Hillcats manager Luis Salazar to go to the bullpen to replace starter Cory Rasmus. The former supplemental first round draft had a strong afternoon until the sixth. He had not allowed a run and struck out six P-Nats. But when Potomac started to get to him, Salazar called on Dan Jurik.
The first batter Jurik faced was Justino Cuevas. The infielder was just called up from extended spring training to replace Francisco Soriano, who went on the DL. Cuevas was abruptly inserted into the lineup on Saturday and Sunday because every day third baseman Justin Bloxom is sick. With Peacock on first, Cueavas turned on a fastball and hit a two-run homer to left field, cutting Lynchburg's lead down to 6-5.
Cuevas continued his fast start with the P-Nats in the 8th inning. After Hillcats reliever Andrew Wilson (who went to Liberty University in Lynchburg) retired the first two batters, the 22-year-old Cuevas went deep for the second time in the game. His solo shot made things 7-6, the eventual winning score for Lynchburg.
Adding to Cuevas' impressive weekend was the two-RBI double he had on Saturday night. The Dominican Republic native went 4-8, with two home runs, one double, and five RBI in his first two games with the P-Nats.
Destin Hood's hot bat didn't cool off either. The Mobile, AL native went 3-5 with three doubles. He is now tied for first in the Carolina League with 16 two-baggers (Salem's Reynaldo Rodriguez also has 16).
Lynchburg jumped out to an early lead with a five-run third inning off of P-Nats starter Paul Demny. The righty has been one of Potomac's best pitchers this year, with an ERA under three, but today was more difficult for him. The big hit of the inning came from DH Adam Milligan, who roped a two-RBI double. Keenan Wiley and L.V. Ware also had RBI singles.
First baseman Barret Kleinknecht rounded out the inning with a sacrifice fly. Demny did not make it out of third. The P-Nats bullpen trio of Evan Bronson, Josh Smoker, and Marcos Frias pitched a strong 5.1 innings. Bronson allowed the only run, and it was unearned. All totaled, they only gave up five hits and walked no one.
The game-winning run for Lynchburg came home in the bottom of the sixth. Andrelton Simmons singled to left field, but Chris Curran's return throw to the infield got away from shortstop Jose Lozada and rolled all the way to the P-Nats bullpen on the right field line. Simmons raced to third on the overthrow. Curran was charged an error. The next batter, Phil Gosselin, singled to center to score Simmons and make it 7-5 Lynchburg.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for Potomac and keeps the P-Nats from sweeping the three-game series against Lynchburg. But the Nats are still 6-4 in the last 10 games and look to continue their hot play tomorrow at home against Kinston. The starting pitcher for the Indians is schedule to be Drew Pomeranz, the number five overall pick in last year's draft. You can get your tickets for Dollar Monday by This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.