Lynchburg, VA- It was a pitcher's duel throughout the game with Michael Lee besting the P-Nats staff. The 'Cats came away with the 3-1 win thanks to two runs in the bottom of the eighth and Ryan Weber coming up big after nearly blowing a save opportunity.
The former first-round pick, Alex Meyer, and journeyman, Michael Lee, put on a show at Lynchburg City Stadium Wednesday night. The 'Cats faithful were treated to a pitchers' duel on a humid night.
On a night were runs were at a premium, it would be Lee that would crack first. It was the top of the first when Michael Taylor continued his hot hitting with a lead-off single. With Kevin Keyes at the plate,Taylor stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. Keyes then hit a deep fly ball to center field and Taylor cruised home to give the P-Nats the early 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Meyer was in the midst of retiring 15 of the first 17 batters he faced. However, in the bottom of the sixth it would be the Hillcats that manufactured a run. Matt Weaver led the inning off with a single. Weaver was sacrificed over by Mycal Jones before reaching third on Meyer's second wild pitch of the night. Just one batter later, Nick Ahmed would hit a deep fly to score Weaver and earn a sacrifice fly of his own. The game was knotted at 1-1.
The score would remain 1-1 until the bottom of the eighth. With Jimmy Barthmaier on the mound, Bobby Stevens started the inning off with a single before stealing second. Weaver was at the dish trying to get the sac bunt down, but was unable to after two pitches. However, on a 0-2 count, Weaver hit a tapper down the third base side. Barthmaier raced off the mound to collect the ball but on the throw, launched it over Stephen King's head at first. Stevens raced home and Weaver scampered to second. The score was now 2-1 in favor of the 'Cats. Still with none out, the 'Cats caught another brake. Weaver was back picked at second, but on the throw broke for third and reached safely despite not sliding as the throw met him there. With Weaver at third, Jones hit a line drive up the middle to score Weaver and make it 3-1.
Ryan Weber would come in for the ninth inning to relieve Lee after eight innings. After retiring the first batter, he allowed back-to-back singles to J.P. Ramirez and Rick Hague. Weber would come up with a big strike out of David Freitas, but Hague would steal second to put runners at second and third. A walk to Steven Souza would load the bases for MiLB's RBI leader, Jason Martinson. With the fans on their feet and at a roar, Weber battled Martinson who was looking for his 95th RBI of the season. However it would be Weber to come through with a strike out to end the game.
Lee (1-1) got the win for eight stellar innings. He allowed just one run on four hits, while striking out seven and walking none. Barthmaier picked up the loss and fell to 0-1. He went two innings, allowed two runs--both earned--on four hits. Weber would earn his first save with the Hillcats this season.
The series finale is slated for a 7:05pm start time. Gates will open at 6:00pm at Lynchburg City Stadium. Aaron Northcraft (8-7, 4.12) will try to right his personal skid tomorrow. Nathan Karns (6-2, 1.88) will look to continue his Carolina League domiance for the Potomac Nationals.