Blue Rocks avoid Lynchburg Hillcats sweep

lynchburg hillcatsLynchburg had the potential tying run in scoring position in the ninth inning, but the Hillcats could not complete a late comeback and resulting sweep against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, falling 7-5 Wednesday night at Frawley Stadium.

Both teams used extra-base hits to score early. Greg Allen began the game with a triple that split the gap in right-center field. He scored on the very next batter when Tyler Krieger hit a sacrifice fly on a line drive to center field for his first RBI as a Hillcat. Wilmington answered in a big way with a four-run inning highlighted by a three-run homer by Samir Duenez to take a 4-1 advantage after one.

In the second, Francisco Mejia hit a one-out single to extend his hitting streak to 25 games, dating back to his time at Lake County. Taylor Murphy followed with a two-run homer to right field to cut the score to 4-3.

Lynchburg tied the game briefly in the fifth inning. Mark Mathias and Juan De La Cruz drew back-to-back walks to open the stanza. Allen bunted his way on base to load them up with nobody out. Krieger hit another sacrifice fly to tie the game, 4-all, but the Lynchburg rally stopped there.

Wilmington responded immediately with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to open up a 7-4 margin. Brandon Downeshad an RBI double in the sixth, and Austin Bailey drove him in with a triple down the right-field line.

Lynchburg tried to stage a ninth-inning comeback. De La Cruz and Allen started it with leadoff walks, and a ground-rule double by Luigi Rodriguez cut the deficit to 7-5 with two runners in scoring position and only one out. Derek Gordon shut down the threat at that point with a strikeout and a flyout to improve to 5-5 in save opportunities. Corey Ray (4-2) earned the win after allowing four runs on six hits in six innings. Anderson Polanco received his first loss as a starter after surrendering six runs, five earned, in 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out a season-high eight batters, one shy of his career mark.

Lynchburg is 3-4 in games it has a chance to complete a sweep…The Hillcats fell to 11-11 in series finales and 4-6 on getaway days.

Lynchburg travels overnight to Carolina to begin a four-game series against the Mudcats Thursday at 7 p.m. LHP Luis Lugo (3-2, 4.30) will start for Lynchburg. Fans can listen to the action on 93.3 FM and 1320 AM as well as, beginning with the Hillcats On-Deck Show at 6:45 p.m.

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