Hillcats bullpen collapses in loss to Mudcats

Lynchburg HillcatsThe Lynchburg Hillcats went into the ninth inning with a big lead but couldn’t hold on as the Carolina Mudcats completed the 8-7 comeback win in the middle game of the series in Saturday night, in front of a crowd of 3,733 at City Stadium.

Lynchburg (25-28, 57-63) falls in its fourth one-run game this week as Carolina (22-33, 61-63) snaps its six-game skid.

In the ninth, the Mudcats made some late noise. Nathan Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk against Lynchburg righty Dakody Clemmer. Devin Hairston singled his way aboard, and Wes Rogers’ triple scored both runners. Payton Henry came through with a double after that, driving in Rogers with a double to make it a one-run game. That lifted Clemmer from the game in favor of Yapson Gomez (Loss, 1-6). The left-hander surrendered a double to Pat McInerney and a single to Eddie Silva, the latter scoring the go-ahead run to put the Muddies up 8-7.

The Hillcats got a one out single from Mitch Reeves in the bottom of the ninth but Anthony Bender (Save, 3) slammed the door shut.

The Mudcats took an early advantage in the first. A leadoff single by Brice Turang set up Henry, who drilled a ball over the left field fence for his 14th bomb of the season. The home run gave the Muddies a 2-0 edge.

In the second, Lynchburg jumped all over Carolina starter Wuilder Rodriguez (Loss, 0-1). Jonathan Laureano struck out with one away, but the dropped third strike allowed him to get to first base. Jason Rodriguez doubled to score Laureano, then a single by Connor Smith put two runners aboard. Cody Farhat was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Steven Kwan’s single plated both Rodriguez and Smith. Tyler Freeman followed him up with a single to score Farhat, and the Hillcats left the second inning up 4-2.

Reeves led off the third by reaching on a fielding error by Mudcats second baseman Trever Morrison. Rodriguez knocked in another run with a single to score Reeves, extending the Lynchburg lead to 5-2.

In the bottom of the fourth, Jodd Carter drew a one-out walk. A fielding error by Turang at shortstop allowed Freeman to reach base. Reeves then slugged a double to plate both runners, putting the Hillcats up by a 7-2 score.

Carolina got a leadoff single from Hairston in the fifth, and he later scored when Henry grounded into a double play.

Brock Hartson allowed three earned runs over four frames in the start for Lynchburg. Felix Tati fired three scoreless innings of relief. Clemmer allowed four earned runs in 0.2 innings and Gomez was tagged with one run in 0.1 frames.

Wuilder Rodriguez allowed seven runs (four earned) over four innings in his first start for Carolina this season. J.T. Hintzen blanked Lynchburg over two innings. Phil Bickford (Win, 3-0) spun two scoreless frames and Bender shut the door on the Hillcats in the ninth.

The Hillcats will look to come back in the series finale on Sunday. The Hillcats will send lefty Kirk McCarty (3-4, 4.74) to the mound against the Mudcats, who have not yet announced their starter for the contest. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.

Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 2:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.

Sunday’s game will be a Sandlot Sunday where all kids in attendance will be able to run the bases after the conclusion of the game.

For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.

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