‘Cats crush P-Nats in series finale
The Hillcats scored in seven of nine innings Sunday afternoon in their 13-2 win over the Potomac Nationals. Catcher Evan Gattis had a career day with five hits, including a three-run homer and six RBI, leading the Hillcats to the blow out victory. RHP Aaron Northcraft quietly pitched six innings, allowing just two runs and earned the win.
After retiring the first two batters of the game, LHP Matt Grace’s long day on the mound began with back-to-back doubles from Tommy La Stella, Gattis, and Edward Salcedo for the Hillcats. La Stella and Gattis came in to score and Salcedo would go stranded on the bases. The ‘Cats led 2-0 in the first.
Lynchburg broke the game open in the third inning with four more runs. Gattis hit his third home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field. Chris Garcia singled home a run later in the inning to make 6-0 ‘Cats.
The Hillcats continued to pile on the runs while Northcraft cruised on the mound. He only ran into trouble in the fourth inning when after a controversial call at first left a runner on with one out. First baseman Garcia received a wide through on a would-be 5-4-3 double play, but the umpire said Garcia missed the tag. Three consecutive single followed the call and two runs scored in the inning. The Hillcats were still in control leading 7-2 at that point.
Three more runs crossed home plate in the fifth for the Hillcats. Salcedo then added a solo home run, his first of the season, to increase the Lynchburg lead to 12-2.
Shortstop Nick Ahmed drove in the final run for the Hillcats with an RBI double in the ninth, bringing the score to its final at 13-2. The Hillcats finished with 20 hits on the afternoon, a new season-high to go along with their season-high 13 runs.
Northcraft (2-0) earned the win giving up just two runs in his six innings, while striking out five. The loss went to LHP Matt Grace (1-1). He lasted four innings, surrendering seven runs, six earned, on 11 hits and a walk, while striking out three.
The Hillcats are now 7-2 this season. They are in first place in the Carolina League Northern Division and boast the best record in the league.
Tomorrow, the ‘Cats travel to Salem to begin a three-game set with the Red Sox. First pitch in the series opener will be at 7:05pm. RHP Cody Martin (2-0, 0.00) will start for Lynchburg against RHP Keith Couch (1-1, 5.40) for Salem. The Hillcats On-Deck Show powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg will go on the air at 6:40pm. Listen live to all the action on 105.5 FM KD Country and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com