Blue Rocks top Lynchburg Hillcats in extras

lynchburg hillcatsDespite the Hillcats taking the lead with a four-run fourth, and again with a six-run seventh, they were unable to make it stand up, falling 12-11 to Wilmington in ten innings on Friday.

The Blue Rocks take the series from Lynchburg (45-51, 16-13) who falls to 7-9 at home in the second half, and 6-14 against Wilmington (47-50, 16-11) this season.

Trailing 2-0 in the fourth inning, the Hillcats jumped out in front against Ofreidy Gomez. Li-Jen Chu and Jodd Carter each reached with one out singles, and then Dillon Persinger launched a three-run home run to left-center field to make it 3-2 Lynchburg. Emmanuel Tapia made it back-to-back home runs for Lynchburg, sending a blast to right field for his sixth of the season, stretching the lead to 4-2.

Gomez lasted five innings, giving up four runs on ten hits. He walked one and stuck out three.

The lead didn’t last long for the Hillcats. Brewer Hicklen led off the fifth inning with a swinging bunt on which Chu threw the ball down the left field line. It would lead to five unearned runs in the inning against Zach Plesac. Emmanuel Rivera capped off the scoring with a three-run home run, his fifth of the season, to put Wilmington ahead 7-4.

Plesac worked 5.2 innings, giving up seven runs, two earned, on six hits. He walked two and struck out two.

Rivera would add on to Wilmington’s lead in the top of the seventh inning, lacing a single to right-center to score D.J. Burt who reached on a one out walk, making it 8-4.

The Hillcats would storm back in the home half of the inning. Ernie Clement led off the frame with a double off of the top of the wall in left center. Conner Capel then walked, and Trenton Brooks followed with an RBI single to center field to draw the Hillcats closer at 8-5. Brooks and Jorma Rodriguez would each extend their hitting streaks to ten consecutive games as the Hillcats rattled off 15 hits on the night.

Carter would then make it a two run ballgame with a bases loaded walk, and Persinger followed with an RBI groundout to cut the deficit to one. Tapia then laced a two-run double down the right field line to put the Hillcats in front. Rodriguez capped the scoring with a single up the middle to give Lynchburg a 10-8 lead.

After Wilmington trimmed the lead to 10-9 in the eighth, Gabriel Cancel led off the ninth against Dalbert Siri and launched a home run to straight away left, to tie the score at 10-10. Later in the inning, Rudy Martin would single up the middle to put the Blue Rocks back ahead, 11-10.

Lynchburg would force extra innings with another rally in the ninth. With second and third and no out, Persinger lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Mitch Longo, who was brought on to pinch run for Chu.

Tyler Zuber (Win, 1-0) was able to minimize damage and allow only the lone run. He went on to pick up the win thanks to a Cancel sac fly in the top of the tenth, while the Wilmington reliever would set down the Hillcats in the home tenth to end the game.

He worked three innings, allowing just an uneared run, did not give up a hit, walked three and stuck out two.

Jared Robinson (Loss, 2-3) suffered the loss, giving up an unearned run on four hits over two innings.

The Hillcats look to start fresh Saturday when they open a three game series with the Carolina Mudcats beginning at 6 p.m. Lynchburg will send lefty Sam Hentges (5-6, 3.48) to the hill to face off with fellow left-hander Cam Roegner (8-5, 2.38) for Carolina.

Max Gun and Matt Present will be on the air with the pre-game show beginning at 5:50 p.m. on TuneIn Radio and Radio434.

It’s Sparkling Saturday at City Stadium, featuring post-game fireworks as well as a used car giveaway. Any licenced driver who purchases a ticket to the game is eligible to win.

For tickets and more information visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, the City Stadium box office, or call 434-528-1144.

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