Dash’s big ninth hands Hillcats 9-7 defeat
Seven different Hillcats had a hit, and Gavin Collins went 3-5 and generated an RBI on each hit. However, Winston-Salem used a four-run ninth to break a 5-5 tie and hang on for a 9-7 victory in the series opener at City Stadium Sunday night.
Each team led by multiple runs at some point during the back-and-forth affair. After Lynchburg fell behind 2-0 out of the gate, the Hillcats rallied with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the first. Ka’ai Tom and Andrew Calica each singled. Collins doubled in Tom, and Connor Marabell drove in the second run on a groundout to shortstop.
The Hillcats claimed the lead in the third when Sam Haggerty drew a leadoff walk and came home on a base hit by Collins. Winston-Salem evened the game, 3-all, on a solo homer by Brandon Dulin.
Lynchburg recaptured the lead with a pair of runs on an Anthony Miller RBI double and a Sam Haggerty RBI single in the bottom of the fourth. Jodd Carter and Miller scored in the frame to put the Hillcats in front, 5-3. However, the Dash plated six unanswered runs after that, capped off by a four-run ninth inning.
With the game tied, 5-5, Eloy Jimenez gave Winston-Salem the lead for good with a two-run single. Matt Rose provided some necessary insurance runs with a two-run double to make it 9-5. Lynchburg tried to rally in the home half. Willi Castro and Daniel Salters both scored to make it 9-7. Calica and Collins reached on singles to bring the possible winning run to the plate, but Jack Charleston entered from the bullpen to record the final out for his ninth save.
Brock Hartson took a line drive off the right side of his body in the first inning. He needed 36 pitches to complete the first inning, but the right-hander powered forward to finish five frames Sunday. He left the game with the Hillcats ahead, 5-4. Paul Hendrix suffered the loss after entering the game with a second-half ERA of 1.13. He worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning but was charged with four runs in the ninth. Ian Hamilton (1-2) earned the win for Winston-Salem while lowering his ERA to 0.91 with two scoreless innings of relief.
Lynchburg and Winston-Salem face off again Monday at 6:30 p.m. Shao-Ching Chiang (7-6, 3.92) will start for the Hillcats against Alec Hansen (0-2, 4.00). Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and fans who show up early can enjoy an autograph session with select Hillcats players as well as a team photo for the first 300 through the gates as part of another Meow Monday. Fans who can’t attend can hear the game live at www.lynchburg-hillcats.com.