WOODBRIDGE, Va- There was Major League flavor at Pfitzner Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, but the only team that tasted victory on this day was the homestanding Potomac Nationals. A late inning RBI single from Jesus Valdez gave the P-Nats a 3-2 win in a thriller with the Lynchburg Hillcats.
With Dmitri Young donning Potomac whites and Lastings Milledge wearing the visiting greys of the Hillcats, the 2,356 fans in attendance were treated to a nervy, back-and-forth battle between two of the top teams in the Carolina League.
Jeff Mandel got the start for the P-Nats and once again pitched well enough to leave with the victory, allowing just two runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched. The righty lowered his ERA to 3.79 on the season, but he left the contest with the game tied in the sixth inning.
The Hillcats would draw first blood in this ballgame in the top of the third inning when a Milledge double down the left-field line would score the speedy Chase D'arnaud from first base to plate the first run of the game. With one out and runners on the corners, Matt Hague hit a ground ball to Stephen King at third that glanced off King's glove, allowing Milledge to score to push the Lynchburg lead to 2-0.
The big leaguer Young would put the P-Nats on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning with a titanic home run to left field off Hillcats starter Justin Wilson to cut the Potomac deficit in half. On the day, Young would go 1-for-3 with that home run and a walk in his first career appearance for the P-Nats. Young is in town to get at-bats until the higher affiliates come back from their respective All-Star breaks as the first baseman looks to get back to the big leagues.
Potomac would tie the game in the bottom of the fifth on a Dan Nelson double that kicked up chalk down the left-field line, scoring Stephen King all the way from first base.
It would come down to a battle of the bullpens as both teams would put up zeroes until the eighth inning when a stroke of luck would give the P-Nats the break they needed. A throwing error from Jordy Mercer at third base put Chris Marrero on second base with just one out. Into the box stepped Valdez, the team's best performer in clutch situations in 2009, who promptly lined a two-strike pitch from Harrison Bishop (1-3) into left field to score pinch-runner Brian Peacock with the go-ahead run.
Atahualpa Severino (4-0) pitched the final two innings, escaping a first-and-third, no-out jam in the eighth inning by striking out the side. He worked through traffic in the ninth inning as well, retiring Hague on a fly ball to centerfield with runners on first and second to end the game.
The P-Nats have taken the first two from the Hillcats and these two teams will meet again on Wednesday night. The game is scheduled for 7:05 ET and it will be Belly Buster Night at the Pfitz! For just $12, fans receive a grandstand ticket to the ballgame as well as access to an all-you-can-eat buffet which will include items from Moe's Southwest Grill, Pizzeria Uno's, and Bob Evans as well as neverending hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and popcorn while supplies last. It is also Wendy's Wednesday at the Pfitz where fans can receive buy-one-get-one-free tickets when they bring in a receipt from one of Wendy's Old-Fashioned combo meals!
For more information on tickets, daily promotions, and all things P-Nats, call (703) 590-2311 or log onto www.potomacnationals.com to join the party!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.