Early offense pushes Lynchburg Hillcats to series-opening win
The Hillcats (18-17) received a terrific performance at the plate from Oscar Gonzalez, who went 2-for-3 with a triple and a double to lead Lynchburg to the win.
Lynchburg got the scoring started right away in the first inning. Steven Kwan led the frame off with a single to break an 0-for-14 stretch. Jodd Carter traded places with Kwan on a fielder’s choice and Nolan Jones followed him up with a single to put two on with one out. Gonzalez ripped a triple into center field, scoring both Carter and Jones to give the Hillcats a 2-0 lead. After Trenton Brooks walked to put two aboard, Gavin Collins plated Gonzalez with a sacrifice fly to finalize the first-inning scoring for Lynchburg, who led 3-0 after an inning of play.
The Mudcats would strike back in the third inning. Devin Hairston drew a one-out walk and Joantgel Segovia reached base on a throwing error by Hillcats starter Matt Solter (Win, 1-0) to put two aboard. Tristen Lutz ripped an RBI double down the left field line to score Hairston and cut the Lynchburg lead to 3-1.
In the top of the fifth inning, Zach Clark led off the frame with a triple. Hairston’s RBI single scored Clark and made it a 3-2 Hillcats advantage.
Looking for some insurance, Gonzalez reached second base on a one-out double. Brooks singled to move Gonzalez to third, and Collins drove in Gonzalez for the second time on the evening with a sacrifice fly to expand the lead to 4-2.
The Hillcats bullpen shut down the Mudcats over the final three frames to seal the Lynchburg victory.
Solter, making his first career start for Lynchburg, completed six innings while allowing two earned runs on six hits and two walks, striking out seven batters. Yapson Gomez, Anderson Polanco, and Robert Broom (Save, 1) combined for three scoreless innings.
Nelson Hernandez (Loss, 4-1) allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks over six innings while striking out two. J.T. Hintzen tossed the final two frames, allowing no runs on one hit and one walk.
The Hillcats and Mudcats will meet again on Tuesday in the second game of the series. Matt Smith (1-3, 4.38) will take the mound for Carolina, while Justin Garza (3-3, 6.15) will start for Lynchburg. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.
Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 6:20 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
Homestand highlights include Aloha Weekend with a postgame fireworks show on Saturday, Kids Eat Free Tuesday, Winning Wednesday, and Thirsty Thursday. Additionally, Hillcats vs. Cancer is on May 17, Pirates vs. Royalty Night is on May 18 and Cats Cares Night is on May 25, where all fans can enter the game for free but are asked to give a donation at the box office of their choice to a pre-selected charity.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.