Lynchburg Hillcats lose pitchers’ duel to Wilmington
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The Lynchburg Hillcats didn’t give up a hit until the eighth inning, when the Wilmington Blue Rocks used two hits to push a run across that proved to be the difference in a 1-0 final. James Hoyt did not allow a hit through six innings, facing just one over the minimum. It was his first start of the season and second of his career.
Hoyt did not allow a runner passed first base; the lone blemish on his day was a walk in the third inning. He retired the final twelve men he faced and struck out a career high eight hitters, which also set a new single game high for the Hillcats (14-12) this season.
Ronan Pacheco (1-1) kept the no-hitter intact through the seventh but gave up a leadoff single in the eighth and the next hitter, Jack Lopez, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position. Kenny Diekroger hit a flare down the right field line that fell in front of David Rohm. Rohm threw a strike that one-hopped to the plate ahead of pinch runner Lane Adams, but Luis De La Cruz was unable to get the tag down in time, the Blue Rocks (13-15) took the late 1-0 lead.
Wilmington starter Aaron Brooks matched Hoyt frame-for-frame. He went six scoreless innings, allowing a pair of singles and a walk while striking out five. Spencer Patton gave up one hit through the final three innings to complete the shutout. Patton (3-0) struck out five Hillcats, striking out the side in the eighth.
John Cornely stranded two runners on in the ninth to keep it a one-run game going to the bottom of the ninth. The Hillcats got the potential winning run to the plate in the ninth in the form of William Beckwith, but he grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on a diving stop in the hole by second baseman Justin Trapp.
The Hillcats dropped game one of the series and the first meeting between the two teams since the Northern Division Championship Series last season. The Hillcats look to even the series Saturday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05pm and gates open at 5pm. The first 1,000 fans will get a special edition Hillcats T-shirt, presented by Physicians Treatment Center, for the fifth annual Autism Awareness Night at City Stadium. There will be a silent auction on the concourse during the game and the Hillcats will be wearing special autism awareness socks. If you can’t make it to the game, join Erik Wilson and Jake Levy on the call, beginning with the Hillcats On-Deck Show, powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg, starting at 5:40pm on 97.9 FM The Planet and lynchburg-hillcats.com.