Lynchburg, Va. - The Lynchburg Hillcats batted around in the second inning, plating five run to guide them to a 5-2 take down of the Potomac Nationals in Game One on Wednesday.
Despite being out-hit 11 to nine, the Hillcats went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position, to take a 1-0 series lead over Potomac.
In the second inning, the Hillcats loaded the bases against Joan Baez, and with one out, Dillon Persinger cranked a two-run double off the wall in left, scoring Jose Medina and Austen Wade. A few pitches later, Baez bounced a pitch to the backstop, bringing Alexis Pantoja across to make it 3-0 Lynchburg. Mitch Longo then laced an RBI single to center to drive in Persinger. Longo then stole second to get into scoring position for Nolan Jones , who ripped an opposite field RBI single to score him, as the Hillcats sent nine hitters to the plate, scoring five times.
Baez (Loss, 0-1) was able to battle his way through five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out one. Hayden Howard came out of the P-Nats bullpen to fire three scoreless innings, giving up just two base runners, both singles, to keep the visitors within striking distance.
Meanwhile Justin Garza (Win, 1-0) had the ground ball working throughout the night. The right-hander induced three double-plays, working his way around seven hits in 5.2 innings. Garza walked one and struck out two, giving up just one run, which crossed for Potomac in the top of the third.
Nick Banks led off the frame with a double down the left field line, and came in to score two batters later on an RBI single from Bryan Mejia. However, Garza would pick up a pair of ground outs to limit the damage. Overall on the night, Garza recorded eight ground ball outs in comparison to two fly ball outs.
Adam Scott relieved Garza, picking up a strikeout to end the sixth, on his way to two scoreless innings and four strikeouts out of the bullpen. Dalbert Siri (Save, 1) came on to record the final out in the eighth, stranding the tying run in the on-deck circle. Siri would give up a run in the ninth on an RBI double from Banks to score Rhett Wiseman, but he was able to buckle down and get Jack Sundberg to ground out to end the game.
The series continues Thursday, with Game Two at 6:30 p.m. at City Stadium. The Hillcats will send righty Jean Carlos Mejia (0-1, 6.00) to face off with left-hander Matthew Crownover (5-9, 4.42), who no-hit the Hillcats the last time they faced him on August 25.
Max Gun and Matt Present will bring you the action beginning at 6:20 p.m. on TuneIn Radio and Radio434.
Fans can purchase $2 tickets, $2 hot dogs and $2 beers at the game, as part of the Back-$2-Back Championship quest.
For tickets and more information visit lychburg-hillcats.com, the City Stadium box office, or call 434-528-1144.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.