Hillcats fall in extras to Wilmington
Sicnarf Loopstok and Jodd Carter each had go-ahead solo home runs during Wednesday night’s 4 ½ hour battle, but Wilmington rallied to tie the game in the ninth inning and ultimately won 5-4 on a wild pitch in the 13th inning at Frawley Stadium.
Sicnarf Loopstok started the scoring in the first inning with his team-leading 13th home run and 42nd RBI of the year when he hit a ball that cleared the fence in left. However, Wilmington scored two unearned runs in the first inning and added another unearned run in the second to take a 3-1 advantage into the third.
Lynchburg used a pair of two-out RBIs in the third inning to even the score, 3-3. Gavin Collins doubled with two outs in the frame to bring home Willi Castro. With runners at second and third, Connor Marabell hustled out an infield single to drive in Andrew Calica and tie the game. Neither team scored again until the eighth.
With one out in the eighth inning, Jodd Carter hit a fly ball down the left-field line that stayed fair long enough to give the Hillcats a 4-3 lead on Carter’s 10th home run of the season. In the bottom of the ninth, Wilmington loaded the bases with two walks and a bunt single. D.J. Burt hit a sacrifice fly to left field to knot the score at 4-all. A 4-3 double by the next batter sent the game to extra innings.
Carter attempted to be the hero again in the 10th inning when he hit a leadoff triple to left-center field. However, the next three batters struck out to strand him at third base. Wilmington plated the winning run in the bottom of the 13th without a base hit. Back-to-back walks began the frame. Wander Franco advanced to third on a wild pitch, and another wild pitch enabled him to come home and end the contest.
Both team’s bullpens had extensive use in the game, as both starters only lasted four innings. Shao-Ching Chiang was pulled after allowing three runs on six hits, although all three of the runs against him were unearned. Paul Hendrix tossed a career-high three innings and struck out three. Argenis Angulo worked a scoreless eighth, but he issued back-to-back walks to start the ninth and was charged with a run when one of those walks eventually scored. Billy Strode allowed an inherited runner to score but struck out two in 1 2/3 innings outside of that. Justin Garcia (3-2) took the loss. He struck out four in three scoreless innings before surrendering the decisive run.
Lynchburg continues its four-game series at Wilmington Thursday at 6:35 p.m. Shane Bieber (5-1, 3.16) will be on the mound for the Hillcats. Fans can listen to the game live at lynchburg-hillcats.com beginning at 6:30.