Blue Rocks complete sweep of Lynchburg Hillcats
The Lynchburg Hillcats dropped the series finale to the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 6-2, on Sunday, falling in their first sweep of the season and dropping to second place in the CL North Division as a result.
The Hillcats (13-11) have now lost three in a row after winning four in a row prior to the series, while Wilmington (14-10) jumps to first place in the CL North Division with the victory.
The Hillcats got the bats going early in the game. Steven Kwan singled his way on base to start off the ballgame. After Dillon Persinger singled to move Kwan over to second base, a throwing error by Blue Rocks third baseman Angelo Castellano allowed Oscar Gonzalez to reach, plating Kwan to give Lynchburg the 1-0 lead.
The Hillcats tacked on another run in the second frame. Jonathan Laureano got on board with a walk, and Wilbis Santiago immediately followed him with an RBI double to score Laureano. Lynchburg went to the third with a 2-0 advantage.
The Lynchburg lead wouldn’t last long. Ricky Aracena singled with one out to get on base in the third inning. After Marten Gasparini struck out, Wilmington center fielder Rudy Martin dug in looking to do some damage. With the wind blowing out to right field, Martin drove a ball over the right field fence for his first home run of the year to tie the game at 2-2.
Hillcats starter Eli Morgan bounced back after that, tossing a pair of scoreless innings as his pitching duel with Blue Rocks right-hander Brady Singer (Win, 2-2) continued.
In the top of the sixth inning, Morgan’s day came to a close. The Blue Rocks capitalized on the Hillcats’ bullpen, plating a run on an RBI double by Seuly Matias that scored Gasparini. That run would give Wilmington a 3-2 lead that it would never relinquish.
As the Blue Rocks bullpen began to cruise, the bats came alive in the eighth. A Cristian Perez single scored Gasparini for the fourth Blue Rocks run of the game. Then the lead was cracked wide open when MJ Melendez singled in two runners with an RBI single, pushing the Wilmington lead to 6-2. They would hold onto that lead after blanking the Hillcats in the eighth and ninth innings.
Morgan tossed five innings while allowing two runs and striking out a season-high nine batters for the Hillcats. Jared Robinson (Loss, 0-1) allowed his first four runs of the season in three innings of relief. Jonathan Teaney shut down the Blue Rocks bats in a scoreless ninth inning.
Singer rolled through six innings of one-run ball for Wilmington while punching out five Hillcats batters. Collin Snider earned a hold with two scoreless frames, and Rito Lugo faced the minimum in an easy ninth inning to close the game out for the Blue Rocks.
The Hillcats will embark on a four-game road trip to Fayetteville beginning on Monday. This will mark the first time that the Hillcats have visited the Woodpeckers, a new organization in the Carolina League that moved over from Buies Creek. Lefty Juan Hillman (1-2, 2.61) will take the ball for Lynchburg in the first game of the series, facing off against righty Chad Donato (2-2, 7.43). First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
Max Gun will be on the air beginning at 6:50 p.m. on TuneIn Radio and Radio434.
The Hillcats will return home next weekend with a three-game series beginning against the Frederick Keys on Friday, May 3. Friday’s game will also be Mascot Madness Night while Saturday’s contest will be Star Wars Night at City Stadium. Each night will include special post-game fireworks shows for all fans in attendance as part of Aloha Weekend.
For tickets and more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, the City Stadium box office, or call 434-528-1144.