The Hillcats broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI-single from David Rohm to earn a 3-2 win over the Potomac Nationals on Friday night at City Stadium. Rohm also went deep for the first time this season with a solo shot in the second. The bullpen stayed stellar with four shutout innings of relief to keep the 'Cats in the game and eventually pick up the win.
Lynchburg (5-2) starter A.J. Holland made his second start of the season and second against the Nationals (2-5). Holland went five innings and allowed two runs, one in the first and one in the third, on three hits and struck out three.
The teams traded runs in the first. Potomac scored in the top half after a two-out hit batter kept the inning alive for Kevin Keyes who delivered an RBI-double to give the Nationals the early lead. The Hillcats responded immediately with an RBI-single from Robby Hefflinger, who chased home Ross Heffley.
Rohm led off the second inning with a homer way over the left field wall to give the Hillcats the lead. Jason Martinson responded with an RBI-single off Holland the very next inning to retie the ballgame.
That score would hold all the way until the eighth. Holland was relieved in the sixth, giving way to Wilson Rivera. Rivera (2-0) went three scoreless innings, facing the minimum. He did allow a leadoff hit in the seventh, but that was erased by a double play by the very next batter.
Meanwhile, Potomac starter Taylor Jordan going 16 hitters after Rohm's home run without allowing a hit. He went six-innings, allowing two runs on four hits and striking out six.
The Nationals went to former first round pick Tyler Herron out of the pen in the seventh and he breezed through the seventh, but the Hillcats were finally able to break through in the eighth. Heffley led off the inning with a single and after Beckwith struck out looking, Hefflinger delivered his second hit of the ballgame to put runners at first and second.
Kyle Kubitza came up and drilled a ground ball right back up the middle but a desperation stab of the glove by Herron (0-1) knocked it down. He was able to get a force at second to put runners at the corners with two down. Herron was able to get ahead of Rohm, but left a hanging breaking ball on 0-2 and Rohm knocked it straight back up the box, allowing the game-winning run to waltz in from third.
James Hyatt came on for a perfect ninth to pick up his first save of the season. The Hillcats are now 3-1 against the Nationals this season and 3-1 at City Stadium.
The series continues Saturday night with game two of the three game series. First pitch is set for 6:05pm and gates open at 5pm. After the final out, it's the first fireworks show of the season at City Stadium, presented by Liberty University. Mark Pope (0-0, 7.36) gets the nod for the Hillcats, facing off against Nationals starter A.J. Cole (0-0, 6.75). For tickets visit lynchburg-hillcats.com or call (434) 528-1144. If you can't make it to the ballpark, join Erik Wilson and Jake Levy on the broadcast with the Hillcats On-Deck Show, powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg, hitting the air at 5:40pm on 97.9 FM The Planet and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com.