Lynchburg, VA-In the first 2017 matchup between the two teams that met in the Northern Division Championship Series in 2016, the Potomac Nationals (8-6) got five RBIs from DH Austin Davidson and three RBIs from SS Edwin Lora in route to an 8-2 win over the Lynchburg Hillcats (7-7). RHP Jefry Rodriguez (W, 1-1) notched his first quality start of the season, as the righty allowed just two runs over six innings.
The Hillcats scored first, as they tried to extend their winning streak to six games. 2B Yonathan Mendoza led off the bottom of the first inning with a single, and RF Ka'ai Tom followed with a double. With two men in scoring position and no outs, C Sicnarf Loopstok grounded out to Potomac 3B Kelvin Gutierrez, which plated a run, but Tom ran into an out at third base. Rodriguez buckled down and escaped further damage, as the righty struck out the next two Lynchburg hitters.
Potomac sent the minimum to the plate over the first two frames, but burst out for four runs in the third inning. RHP Jared Robinson (L, 1-2) hit Lora to begin the frame, and the Potomac shortstop went to third base on a single by LF Jack Sundberg. CF Telmito Agustin followed with what could have been a potential double play ball, but it got underneath the glove of SS Willi Castro. The error plated Lora and made it 1-0 Potomac. 2B Bryan Mejia then walked, which loaded the bases, and Davidson cleared the bases with a three-run double into left-centerfield.
The P-Nats knocked Robinson out of the game after 4.2 innings, and RHP Kieran Lovegrove gave up an RBI double to Agustin in the fourth inning. The Hillcats got the run back in the sixth inning against Rodriguez, as Loopstok led off the frame with a double, and then scored on a two-out RBI single by 3B Claudio Bautista.
Out of the Potomac bullpen, RHP Kyle Schepel (SV, 1) faced just one batter over the minimum over three-shutout innings. Schepel saw his club double up its lead with three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning vs. RHP Brock Hartson. Hartson, who pitched five innings, allowed a single to Lora, walked Sundberg, and saw a run come home on a safety squeeze bunt by Agustin. After Hartson retired Mejia, Davidson capped off the night's scoring with a two-run, two-out single, as Potomac went ahead 8-2.
Seven of the nine Potomac starters had at least one hit in the win, while Davidson and Lora each had a pair. The bottom third of Potomac's starting lineup scored seven of the club's eight runs. Davidson and Agustin each set a season high in RBIs with five and three respectively.
Off of a third consecutive win, the P-Nats will look to make it a season best four straight wins Friday night at Calvin Falwell Field. RHP Joan Baez (0-1, 7.88) will look to improve his command in the start for Potomac. Baez had six wild pitches in his debut and then walked seven men in his second start. For the Hillcats, RHP Shao-Ching Chiang (1-1, 1.46) will look to continue his dominant start. Chiang did not allow a run over seven innings last time out, a victory over Myrtle Beach. First pitch is set for 6:30 Friday night. The Potomac broadcast gets underway with the "P-Nats Leadoff Show" at 6:15pm. The broadcast can be heard on potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.
The Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League play at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia, and are the Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. The Potomac Nationals have claimed five Carolina League Championship titles (1982, 1989, 2008, 2010, and 2014) and nine CL Northern Division Championships. Sponsorship opportunities for the 2017 season and beyond are available, as well as corporate outings for the 2017 season to watch the future stars of the Washington Nationals at The Pfitz. For more information on Potomac Nationals 2017single game tickets, season tickets, mini plans, group outings, and picnic packages, visit the P-Nats online at www.potomacnationals.com or call the Potomac Nationals Ticket office at 703-590-2311.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.