Woodbridge, VA-The Lynchburg Hillcats (3-2, 1-0) spoiled the home opener at Pfitzner Stadium for the Potomac Nationals (2-3, 0-1) on Tuesday evening in front of 3,413 fans as the visitors edged the hosting club 10-7.
The Nationals never tied the contest or garnered a lead during the slugfest.
Nationals LHP Nick Lee (0-1), the losing pitcher, was hit hard to the tune of seven earned runs on seven hits in 1.2 innings.
Lee gave up an RBI groundout to 3B Kevin Ahrens in the 1st inning to give the Hillcats a 1-0 lead before the P-Nats responded with a run scoring single off the stick of 1B Kevin Keyes to even the score at 1-1.
A barrage of six runs for Lynchburg in the 2nd stanza came home on the strength of an RBI double by SS Daniel Castro, RBI singles for LF Josh Elander and DH Levi Hyams, a two-run, two-bagger for Ahrens, and a double from RF Will Skinner that plated the Hillcats' seventh run of the game.
The P-Nats responded with three runs in their half of the 2nd inning as SS Stephen Perez laced a single that drove home the leadoff walk issued to LF Will Piwnica-Worms. Then, 2B Tony Renda lofted an RBI sacrifice fly and DH Oscar Tejeda lined an opposite field RBI single.
Tejeda collected three base hits and also scored one run in the contest.
With the score at 7-4, the Nationals added another run in the 3rd when 3B Adrian Sanchez knocked a groundout that scored LF Brandon Miller, who led off with a base-on-balls.
Hillcats RHP Andrew Waszak (0-1), who did not receive a decision, went 3.0 frames and allowed five runs, three earned, on four hits while walking a pair and fanning one.
Lynchburg extended their lead to 8-5 in the 4th on an Elander RBI sacrifice fly.
Potomac scored individual runs in the 5th and 6th on a wild pitch by the eventual winning pitcher, LHP Matt Marksberry (1-0) and another Keyes RBI single.
P-Nats relievers, RHP Brian Dupra and LHP Bryan Harper combined to go 5.1 innings allowing just one earned run (Dupra).
With the score at 8-7 in favor of Lynchburg, two runs came across for the Hillcats in the 8th off RHP Travis Henke courtesy of an RBI single by 2B Jose Peraza and an Elander double that brought home Peraza.
Lynchburg used RHP Greg Ross to bridge the gap to their closer.
Ross went 2.1 innings and surrendered just one earned run after entering in the 5th when Marksberry went to the clubhouse hurt after a minor collision with Tejeda at home plate.
Hillcats RHP Brandon Cunniff (SV 1) earned the save in his first save opportunity of the 2014 season by striking out four and tossing two perfect innings to seal the three-run win for Lynchburg.
Game Two of this best-of-three series is scheduled for tomorrow evening.
The Nationals will pit RHP Brian Rauh (0-0, 1.80) against Lynchburg RHP Lucas Sims (0-1, 6.75) for a 7:05pm first pitch.
The P-Nats will be hosting a Bellybuster Wednesday in which all-you-can-eat food is available in the WashMyDeck Picnic Area as an add-on to any ticket purchase at the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network, which is accessible at www.potomacnationals.com, will feature the live broadcast of Game Two beginning with the P-Nats Leadoff Show at 6:50pm.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed four Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, and 2010) and eight division championships. Most recently, the P-Nats earned a 2013 Carolina League Northern Division pennant. P-Nats 2014 season tickets and mini plans are now on sale. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2014 season and beyond are available. Plan your corporate outing now for the 2014 season to see the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz as the P-Nats offer discounted group rates and all-inclusive picnic options. Visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket Office at 703-590-2311 for more information!
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