Errors costly for Lynchburg in Sunday defeat

lynchburg hillcatsLynchburg’s four errors and a passed ball cleared the path for Carolina to score four unearned runs and hold on for a 5-4 win in the rubber match at Five County Stadium Sundayafternoon. Mike Papi and Taylor Murphy each hit home runs, but it was not enough for the Hillcats to claim the three-game series.

Julian Merryweather (4-1, 0.60) suffered his first loss of the season, though it was no fault of his own. The right-hander went 6 1/3 innings, holding Carolina to only two hits and two walks. He struck out four but was charged with four unearned runs as a result of three defensive errors and a passed ball. Keith Curcio hit a two-run homer off Merryweather in third inning after a two-out error extended the frame, and Carolina led the rest of the way. Merryweather has still only allowed two earned runs in 30 innings.

Matt Withrow (1-1) earned his first victory as a professional by holding Lynchburg to one run and four hits in six frames. Evan Phillips logged his fourth save of the season by pitching the final 1 1/3 innings.

Mike Papi hit a solo home run in the third inning with two outs to give Lynchburg a 1-0 lead. It was his fifth homer of the year and his first since his multi-homer game at Frederick on April 16.

In the eighth inning, Yu-Cheng Chang walked to open the stanza. Two batters later, Taylor Murphy hit a home run down the right field line to bring Lynchburg within one at the time, 4-3. Murphy extended his hitting streak to a team-high 14 games with the deep fly. It was his third of the year and gave him 13 RBIs in 2016.

Carolina added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, which proved to be valuable because Lynchburg scored one in the ninth. Ivan Castillo reached on an error and eventually scored on a two-out single by Chang. Bobby Bradley drilled a ball to left-center field that would have been a double under normal circumstances, but with the Carolina defense playing “no doubles” in a one-run game in the ninth, Curcio made a leaping grab at the wall in the gap to end the game.

Daniel Salters went 0-4 to end his 10-game hitting streak…Greg Allen stole his Carolina League-leading 17th base of the season and went 2-5 at the plate.

Lynchburg opens a seven-game homestand at City Stadium Monday night at 6:30 p.m. Sean Brady (2-1, 4.43) will face the Potomac Nationals in the first of three games against the second-place team in the Northern Division. Fans can listen to the action on 93.3 FM and 1320 AM as well as, beginning with the Hillcats On-Deck Show at 6:15 p.m.

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