Hillcats drop series finale to Salem, 6-5
Lynchburg battled Salem for 14 innings, 10 of which were tied, before the Red Sox used a three-run 14th to take a 6-3 lead and hold on for a 6-5 victory over the Hillcats Thursday night at City Stadium.
Lynchburg’s offense came to life in the fourth inning with three runs on four hits. Martin Cervenka opened the frame with a single, and Willi Castro doubled two batters later. After an intentional walk to Jodd Carter, Claudio Bautista took the wheel and drove in Cervenka from third. The next batter, Anthony Miller, followed suit with a single that plated Castro. Just one batter after that, Daniel Salters hit a sacrifice fly to left, bringing in Carter and staking the Hillcats to a 3-0 lead.
In the fifth, the Red Sox broke through. After Bryan Hudson singled with one out in the inning, he proceeded to steal both second and third. Jeremy Rivera doubled to left to bring in Hudson. The Red Sox tacked on another run in the sixth when Granger Studdard singled on a soft fly ball to center field that scored Jordan Betts and brought the Red Sox within one. Salem continued its one run per inning trend when it added another in the seventh. Austin Rei’s two-out single brought around Rivera from second and knotted the game at 3-3.
The game went to extra innings still tied at 3-all. In the top of the 14th, the Red Sox cracked the tie when Mike Meyers came in on a sacrifice fly to center field courtesy of Bryan Hudson. Tate Matheny followed it up with a two-run homer to give Salem a 6-3 lead.
The Hillcats threatened in the home half. Yonathan Mendoza and Sicnarf Loopstok had back-to-back singles. Ivan Castillo reached on a fielder’s choice, but he was picked off first base. With a runner at third, the Hillcats began a two-out rally with an RBI double by Ka’ai Tom and an infield single by Cervenka. Tom scored and Cervenka moved into scoring position on a throwing error by Daniel McGrath, cutting the deficit to 6-5. With the possible tying run at second, a groundout to shortstop ended the contest.
For the Hiilcats, starter Triston McKenzie allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five over 5 1/3 innings. For Salem, Matt Kent allowed three runs on seven hits over six innings of work. Daniel McGrath earned the win, allowing two runs on four hits in three innings. Dominic DeMasi was pinned with the loss. He allowed three runs on four hits over two stanzas.
Lynchburg heads to Fredrick for a four-game set that begins Friday night when Brock Hartson (3-3, 3.30) squares off against Ofelky Peralta (1-6, 6.37). First pitch is scheduled 7 p.m., and the game can be heard live at www.lynchburg-hillcats.com.