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From staff reports

In Woodbridge, Potomac scored three runs each in the first and second innings, Malvin Pena shut down Lynchburg from the mound by throwing seven shutout frames, and the Nationals handed the visiting Hillcats a 6-0 loss in the series opener at Pfitzner Stadium.

The Hillcats (28-30) got off to a poor start in the bottom half of the first by allowing the first batter they faced to reach on an error, and starter Justin Garza couldn’t get Lynchburg back on track. Thanks to two hits, a walk and sacrifice fly, the Nationals (26-32) struck for three runs in the first. The P-Nats quickly went up 6-0 with another three-spot in the second.

Garza (3-5) lasted just 2 2/3 innings and gave up six runs (three earned) on eight hits in the loss.

The Hillcats couldn’t get going offensively, either, recording just two hits — which matches a season low — and none after the second inning.

Pena (4-3), who dropped his ERA from 7.21 to 6.22 thanks to his seven-inning scoreless showing, gave up a double to Jodd Carter in the first and a single to Gavin Collins in the second, but sat down the next 14 batters he faced.

The 6-foot-2 right-hander only allowed one other base runner when he issued a walk to Nolan Jones in the seventh. Just four total runners reached for Lynchburg.

Nick Banks (2 for 5), Cole Freeman (2 for 4) and Telmito Agustin (2 for 3) all had multi-hit games for the P-Nats. Agustin and Bryan Mejia had two RBIs apiece.

Lynchburg and Potomac continue their four-game series at Pfitzner Stadium with Game 2 at 7:05 p.m. today.

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