The P-Nats got big innings in the first and ninth, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the mistakes in between, as they fell 6-5 to the Lynchburg Hillcats.
Danny Rosenbaum’s third inning was emblematic of the evening. He struggled with his control early, which is not unusual for him, but battled through it and only walked one while striking out four through the first seven batters. But a walk, an error, and another walk loaded the bases for Philip Gosselin, the only batter to make solid contact against him in the first pass through the lineup.
Rosenbaum fell behind again but snapped a curve on a hitter’s count. It was a good pitch, but Gosselin guessed right and deposited it into left-center, clearing the bases and turning a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit. Rosenbaum would retire the last eight batters he faced, but that one bad inning was his undoing and hung the “L” on his pitching line of 5IP 2H 3R 2ER 3BB 4K.
The first two runs came on an odd combination of speed, luck, and power. Eury Perez provided the speed, steering a grounder into right field and then stealing second and third. Jeff Kobernus tapped a dribbler down the third base line that was thrown away but ruled a hit (luck of the hometown scorekeeper), though Perez would have scored in either case. Rick Hague blasted a double to set up runners on 2nd and 3rd, and after a J.P. Ramirez strikeout, Destin Hood tapped another “run-scoring grounder” to third for the P-Nats second run.
Like Rosenbaum, Lynchburg’s Arodys Vizcaino settled down, retiring 10 straight with mid-90s heat, a low-80s curve, and high-70s change until walking Destin Hood with one out in the fourth. The Hillcats botched a double play ball off the bat of Steve Souza, who took second on the overthrow to first, but a strikeout to Stephen King ended the only other threat against Vizcaino, who finished with six in five innings.
The score remained 3-2 until the top of the 8th, when reliever Adam Olbyrchowski, who was stellar in the seventh, fell to earth to a single, two walks, and three wild pitches to score three runs, capped off by a double steal that saw Jeff Kobernus decide to throw home despite having a play at second and Sandy Leon standing still on the five-feet-wide-of throw back to home plate. Olbryshowski managed to strike out the last batter, but the damage was done.
Down 6-2 in the Potomac 9th, Rick Hague led off with a single and went to second on a Destin Hood single to left. Steve Souza brought the announced crowd of 4,318 to its feet with a “oppo boppo” for three runs. After another Stephen King groundout, Sandy Leon drew a two-out walk, but with speedy Francisco Soriano pinch-running Cutter Dykstra struck out on a check swing to end it.
Game Two of the abbreviated series is today with Trevor Holder taking the hill against Zeke Spruill.