Lynchburg’s Gus Schlosser was on last night, tossing eight shutout innings in a 6-2 win over Potomac.
The 23-year-old allowed just a leadoff single to Adrian Sanchez, who stole second and took third on an error after a Ricky Hague flyout. Sanchez was erased on a 5-2 putout at the plate, with Xavier Nady reaching first on the fielder’s choice.
After Nady, it was nada. Twenty-two straight batters were retired — six by way of the K, ten on groundouts, and six flyouts.
Thus, while it’s tempting to go off on a rant about the foibles of Chien-Ming Wang (the Taiwanese John Patterson?) and Nady (0-for-3), it’s unfair to Schlosser. Even Nathan Karns would have probably lost last night.
Wang gave up three runs on three hits and two walks. His apologists, who are legion, will take comfort in the 10 groundball outs. But the three hits were two doubles and a triple, and none of them would have been turned into outs by a major-league outfield.
Robbie Ray, the originally scheduled starter, followed Wang on the mound and turned in three serviceable innings, working around a leadoff doubles in the 5th and 7th and a hit batsmen in the 6th before giving up a run in the 8th (home run) and two in the 9th (back-to-back singles and a double).
Ray had trouble locating his fastball and by the 9th, his fifth inning of work, the Hillcats were keying on his breaking pitches, with several fouls ripped into the third-base stands. He finished with three runs allowed on seven hits and no walks, though he did set down six on strikes.
Potomac broke through with two runs in the 9th against reliever Blaine Sims, as Kevin Keyes led off with an opposite-field double down the right field line, Adrian Sanchez singled and took second on an error (sending in Keyes). Ricky Hague followed with an RBI double, though the umpire saw it differently and called him out at second on throw in from left field.
With the loss, Potomac missed an opportunity to tie Lynchburg for the division lead, instead falling back to two games behind, tied with Wilmington and Frederick at 12-14.
The series finale is this afternoon, with Matt Grace (4-9, 5.91) starting for the P-Nats, facing off against Cody Martin (10-6, 2.80) for the Hillcats.