Carolina tops Lynchburg in finale, 4-1
The Lynchburg Hillcats late-inning rally came up short in a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Mudcats in Friday’s series finale at Five County Stadium. All four runs came against the Hillcats in the fifth inning. Josh Elander had three hits in the game including an RBI-single to drive home the Hillcats only run in the eighth. The Lynchburg bullpen pitched five scoreless innings in the loss. The Hillcats split the four-game series and finish the eight-game road trip 6-2, dropping a continuation game in Myrtle Beach to start the road swing.
Two Hillcats (29-30, 65-63) walks and an error helped along the big four-run fifth that got started on a double by Jerrud Sabourin off the right field wall. Matt Weaver played the carom perfectly and threw a seed to second just narrowly missing the outfield assist. Then SP Jose Lugo made an error on a dribbler back to him. Bryson Myles then came to the plate looking to sacrifice himself but he was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded. Jordan Smith stepped up and lined a two-run single to right-center to put the Mudcats (31-29, 53-77) ahead.
Brandon Cunniff then entered in relief and allowed the two inherited runners to score on a two-run double by Tony Wolters but was able to strike out the final two batters on strikes to strand two in scoring position and end the inning. The Mudcats batted around in the inning and all four runs were charged to Lugo (0-1) who failed to record an out in the inning.
Nick Pasquale (6-7) meanwhile was dominant in his start for Carolina. He shut out the Hillcats through seven shutout innings before the Hillcats finally got to him in the eighth. Two walks and a single loaded the bases and the Mudcats went to the ‘pen, tabbing Louis Head with the bases-loaded, no-out jam. He got the first two he faced before Elander bounced an RBI-single into left field. Anthony Nunez tried to score from second on the hit but was cut down at the plate to end the inning. Head struck out the side in the ninth for his second save of the year.
The Hillcats return home to begin a four-game series with Northern Division rival Frederick Keys Saturday night at City Stadium. Gates open at 5pm for the 6:05pm first pitch with the final fireworks show of the season, presented by Courtyard Marriot, coming after the final out. It’s Fan Appreciation Night at the ballpark as well. The game kicks off an eight-game, seven-day home stand and features Greg Ross (8-6, 3.44) for the Hillcats against Brady Wager (3-8, 4.72) of the Keys. Erik Wilson and Jake Levy have the broadcast starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show, powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg, on 97.9 FM The Planet and lynchburg-hillcats.com