Francisco Mejia extends hit streak to 42 in Lynchburg win

lynchburg hillcatsAnthony Santander fittingly brought an end to Lynchburg’s longest scoring drought of the season with a solo home run in the fourth inning, and the Hillcats led the rest of the way en route to a 5-2 victory at BB&T Ballpark Saturday night. Taylor Murphy went 3-4 with a two-run homer, and Luis Lugo picked up his fourth straight win on the mound.

After being shut out for the first time all season Friday night, Anthony Santander made sure the Hillcats didn’t repeat that by driving a solo home run well beyond the right-field fence in the fourth inning for the first run of the contest. It marked his 17th homer and 77th RBI of the year. Santander is batting .326 with nine homers and 32 RBIs in 34 games since the All-Star Break.

In the fifth, Taylor Murphy drilled a ball approximately 400 feet to right field to score Francisco Mejia and give Lynchburg a 3-0 lead. It represented the ninth home run for Murphy with the Hillcats and his 11th total this season. Murphy added a pair of singles for his seventh three-hit game of the year. Gerson Montilla provided a two-run homer for Winston-Salem in the bottom of the fifth to cut it to one, 3-2.

The Hillcats picked up two insurance runs down the stretch. Mark Mathias began the eighth inning with a triple over the center fielder’s head, and he scored on a Santander sacrifice fly to right field. Santander passed Bobby Bradley for the Carolina League lead in RBIs with 78.Nathan Lukes doubled with one out in the ninth and eventually scored on a wild pitch, making the final margin 5-2.

Francisco Mejia sprinted out an infield single for the second time in the series to continue his hitting streak, which now stands at 42 games. That ranks as the 12th-longest hitting streak in Minor League Baseball history.

Luis Lugo (8-3) won his fourth consecutive start by going 5 2/3 innings and leaving with a 3-2 lead. The left-hander struck out five, including the final three batters he faced. The only two runs he surrendered came on the Montilla home run. Lugo only conceded three hits before turning the ball over to Cameron Hill, who went 2 1/3 scoreless innings with a pair of punchouts. Trevor Frank earned his ninth save in 10 tries with three strikeouts in a scoreless final frame.

Lynchburg has 100 home runs this year and is on pace for a team-record 133 this season…The Hillcats are 19-9 with 31 home runs in the month of July…The ‘Cats improved to a league-best 50-12 this season when scoring first.

Lynchburg attempts to split the four-game series with Winston-Salem Sunday at 5 p.m. Justus Sheffield (7-5, 3.59) will start for the Hillcats against Robinson Leyer (0-1, 5.91). Fans can listen to the action on 93.3 FM and 1320 AM as well as www.lynchburg-hillcats.com, beginning with the Hillcats On-Deck Show at 4:45 p.m.

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