Castro’s homer gives Hillcats third straight win

lynchburg hillcatsWilli Castro broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run homer to left field in the seventh inning, and the Hillcats survived a ninth-inning scare to win their third in a row over Myrtle Beach, 5-4, Sunday night at Field.

Matt Esparza (1-2) became the second-straight Hillcats pitcher to toss seven innings, holding Myrtle Beach to three runs, two earned, while striking out three for his first win of the year. Billy Strode earned a hold with a perfect eighth inning that included a strikeout. Neil Holland allowed the potential tying run to reach third base with one out in the ninth, but he was able to induce a groundout to first and a flyout to left to notch his first save as a Hillcat.

Lynchburg overcame two different deficits before finally claiming the lead in the seventh. After Myrtle Beach tallied the initial run in the first, the Hillcats answered with one run on three hits in the third to even the score, 1-all. Jodd Carter opened the frame with a single, and Anthony Miller doubled to left field to bring him in. Ka’ai Tom singled to center field with two outs, but a strong throw from center fielder Connor Myers pegged Miller at the plate to end the inning.

Matt Rose put the Pelicans back on top with a two-run homer in the fourth. Trailing 3-1, Miller and Castro began the fifth with back-to-back singles. Sam Haggerty laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up 90 feet. Tom brought in the first run on an RBI groundout, and Castro later scored on a passed ball to tie it, 3-3.

Leading off the seventh, Carter again started a stanza with a base hit. Two batters later, Castro lined a ball into the left-field stands for his first home run as a Hillcat, giving Lynchburg a 5-3 advantage.

Lynchburg continues its road trip in Zebulon, N.C., Monday at 7 p.m. Thomas Pannone (0-0, 0.00) will start for the Hillcats. Fans can listen to the game live at or on the TuneIn radio app, beginning at 6:50 p.m.