Hillcats edge Keys to take weekend series

lynchburg hillcatsEmmauel Tapia belted a two run homer in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie, as the Hillcats would go on to knock off the Frederick Keys, 6-4, to take the rubber match on Sunday.

Lynchburg (63-59, 34-21) has now won four consecutive series, and with the victory over Frederick (58-66, 23-32) now take a five game lead over the Blue Rocks, who were swept by the Winston-Salem Dash in a double-header Sunday.

Despite the Keys striking first in the top of the third, the Hillcats scored three unanswered to take the lead. Frederick starter Matthias Dietz struggled with his control, allowing two runs to score on wild pitches in the third, and allowed another run in the fourth after walking the bases loaded. Travis Seabrooke came out of the bullpen and walked Jones to force in a run to make it 3-1 Hillcats.

Dietz lasted just 3.1 innings, giving up three runs on three hits, walked seven, while striking out four.

With the Hillcats leading 3-1 in the sixth inning, the Keys struck for three runs on four hits to chase Zach Plesac from the ballgame. With two outs, T.J. Nichting and Chris Clare came through with an RBI double and a two-run single, respectively, to put Frederick in the lead.

Plesac did not factor in the decision, lasting 5.2 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, while striking out seven.

The Hillcats were quick to answer. In the home sixth, Dillon Persinger doubled to right with an out in the sixth and then Nolan Jones bounced an infield single deep in the hole at shortstop to score him to tie the game at 4-4. Jones reached base in all five plate appearances, including a career-high four walks.

Jorma Rodriguez then led off the seventh with an infield single, and after Austen Wade moved him into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, Tapia launched a two-run blast to right-center, his eighth of the year, which proved to be the game-winner.

Steve Klimek (Loss, 4-3) gave up the blast to suffer the loss, allowing four hits and two runs over an inning plus, while picking up a walk and a strikeout.

Kyle Nelson (Win, 1-0) came out of the bullpen to pick up his first Carolina League victory, striking out four in 1.2 in relief.

Nick Sandlin (Save, 4) then struck out two in a scoreless ninth to nail down the save.

The Hillcats are off Monday, before continuing their homestand on Tuesday when they welcome the Potomac Nationals to City Stadium.

Max Gun and Matt Present will be on the air beginning at 6:20 p.m. with the pregame show on TuneIn Radio and Radio434.

It’s 2-Fur Tuesday at City Stadium, with buy-one get-one tickets in addition to $2 concessions deals.

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

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