Hillcats win streak at five with 4-3 win over Winston-Salem
Jose Martinez provided the game-winning hit, driving home Eric Garcia from second base in the ninth inning, to complete a three-run comeback and give the Hillcats a 4-3 victory at BB&T Ballpark Wednesday night.
Winston-Salem (54-67) plated three runs in the first two innings, but the Hillcats (62-59) scored three of their own in the fourth and fifth frames to set the stage for another late-inning win.
Emerson Landoni walked to lead off the ninth, and Eric Garcia replaced him as a pinch-runner at first base. Garcia stole second base for his seventh swipe of the year. On the next pitch, Martinez singled to right field for his 27th RBI in 48 games with the team. It marked Martinez’s 13th go-ahead RBI and his fifth game-winner with Lynchburg. The Hillcats have now won 17 contests in the team’s final at-bat, including four in the past seven games. Lynchburg holds an 8-4 record when tied after eight innings, which is the best mark in the Carolina League.
Benino Pruneda (2-2) earned the victory after 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen that saw him match his career high with six strikeouts. Pruneda relieved Brady Feigl, who faced the minimum of 11 batters in his 3.2 innings of relief. Feigl struck out a career-high six while extending his current streak to 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
David Peterson worked the ninth inning for his first save of the year. Wes Parsons started the game for the Hillcats but only lasted two innings after throwing 59 pitches. He allowed three runs, though only one was earned. Raul Fernandez (1-2) suffered his second loss at the hands of Lynchburg by giving up the deciding run in the ninth.
Lynchburg trailed 3-0 after three innings, but the Hillcats started to chip away in the fourth. Justin Bloxom drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a Kevin Ahrens double. Ahrens moved into a tie for the Carolina League lead with 35 doubles this season. Bloxom scored later on a passed ball to cut the deficit to 3-1.
The Hillcats evened the score with the Dash thanks to two runs in the fifth. David Nick began the frame with a base hit, Martinez singled, and Bloxom walked to load the bases. Ahrens knocked in one run with a single for his team-best 55th RBI of the year. Will Skinner reached on an error but earned an RBI when Martinez scored to square the game, 3-3.
Winston-Salem struck first when an RBI single by Trey Michalczewski plated Cleuluis Rondon in the opening stanza. It represented Michalczewski’s first hit and RBI at the Advanced-A level. The Dash added a pair in the second when five straight batters reached. However, Adam Engel reached as a result of a two-out throwing error by Landoni , so both runs scored by C.J. Beatty and Engel were unearned in the frame.
Lynchburg and Winston-Salem meet for the final time in the regular season Thursday night at 7pm. Lucas Sims (7-9, 4.42) will start against Brandon Brennan (4-1, 2.85). Erik Wilson and Kyle West will have the call on 97.9 The Planet at 6:40pm.