Hillcats pen falters in loss to Dash in series finale
Hoping to close in on the first-place Salem Red Sox in the standings with a win over the Winston-Salem Dash in the series finale, the Lynchburg Hillcats failed to hang on, taking a 9-4 loss to the Dash.
Lynchburg (26-31, 58-66) sees its elimination number trim to six games with the loss while the Dash (29-29, 67-55) pull to within three games of a playoff spot.
In the bottom of the first inning, the Hillcats took the edge. Mitch Reeves reached base on a walk. A walk by Gavin Collins moved him along to second base, and a single from Jason Rodriguez scored Reeves to give Lynchburg a 1-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Winston-Salem tied the game up when Andrew Vaughn ripped a solo homer, his second this season, to knot the contest at 1-1.
The Hillcats answered back in the bottom half of the frame. Jonathan Laureano reached on a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt by Jodd Carter moved him up to second base. Reeves’ single plated Laureano to put the Hillcats up once again by a 2-1 score.
In the sixth, Winston-Salem tied it up again. Vaughn led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a Craig Dedelow single. Carlos Perez grounded into a double play which moved Vaughn to third, and the first baseman scored on a wild pitch to even it up at 2-2.
Lynchburg re-took the lead in the home half of the sixth. Laureano led off the inning with a double, and Carter smashed a two-run shot, his team-leading 11th home run of the year, to push Lynchburg ahead 4-2.
The Dash knocked another run home in the seventh when Steele Walker hit into a double-play with Tate Blackman on third, cutting the ‘Cats edge to 4-3.
Things got rocky for the Hillcats in the eighth. After Justin Garza (Loss, 6-9) got two quick outs to start the inning, Perez hit a double. Jameson Fisher ripped a single to score Perez to tie it, and Johan Cruz followed that up with a single of his own. Blackman walked to load the bases, and Yeyson Yrizarri drew a walk to force home Fisher, giving the Dash the lead at 5-4. Walker drew a walk to put Winston ahead 6-4, and Tyler Frost cleared the bases with a double to blow the game open at 9-4, capping the scoring.
Cody Morris fired 4.1 innings in the start for the Hillcats, allowing one earned run with six strikeouts. Skylar Arias allowed on run over 1.1 frames while Garza was struck with two runs over two innings. Jonathan Teaney did not record an out and allowed four runs to score while Aaron Pinto fired the final 1.1 frames without allowing a run.
Manny Banuelos, the MLB rehabber, was tagged for two runs over four innings in the start for Winston-Salem. Jake Elliott allowed three runs over two innings of work while Jose Nin (Win, 5-3) spun two blank frames. Will Kincanon tossed a scoreless ninth inning to close it out.
The Hillcats will hit the road for their final road series of the season to take on the Carolina Mudcats beginning on Friday. Lynchburg will trot out right-hander Brock Hartson (1-1, 3.25) to square off against lefty Scott Sunitsch (1-0, 0.00). First pitch is set for 7 p.m.
Max Gun will be on the air at 6:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
The Hillcats return home on Monday, August 26 to begin the final homestand of the season when the Wilmington Blue Rocks and Winston-Salem Dash visit City Stadium. Homestand highlights include Kids Eat Free Tuesday, Winning Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Fantastic Friday, Sparkling Saturday, and Sandlot Sunday. Friday’s game will be Margaritaville Night at City Stadium with a Jimmy Buffett cover band and an Aloha Jersey Auction as well as a sunglasses giveaway courtesy of High Peak Sportswear. Saturday’s game will have the final fireworks show of the season at City Stadium.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.