Jones walk-off hit seals Lynchburg Hillcats win over Woodpeckers

Lynchburg HillcatsThe Lynchburg Hillcats came from behind against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers in the first game of a four-game set, winning by a 5-4 final in walk-off fashion.

Lynchburg (24-22) handed Fayetteville (21-27) its third straight walk-off loss with the victory. The Woodpeckers lost to Down East each of the last two days.

With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Gabriel Mejia led the frame off with a single, putting the winning run on base. Wilbis Santiago drew a walk to put runners on first and second with nobody away. Nolan Jones came up to the plate, and roped a game-winning, walk-off single to right field to score Mejia for the victory.

The run scoring got started in the top of the first inning. Jacob Meyers drew a lead-off walk for the Woodpeckers, and a throwing error by Hillcats starter Justin Garza allowed Meyers to sprint home to give Fayetteville a 1-0 advantage.

Lynchburg answered back in the bottom of the first inning when Santiago hit a one-out triple and came around to score on an RBI single by Oscar Gonzalez.

In the top of the second, Enmanuel Valdez drew a walk with one out. Michael Papierski singled and Alfredo Angarita followed him up with a sacrifice fly, scoring Valdez to put the Woodpeckers back ahead 2-1.

Valdez gave Fayetteville another run when he came up in the fourth inning. The Woodpeckers’ third baseman crushed a ball over the right field fence for his first homer of the season, extending the Fayetteville advantage to 3-1.

Lynchburg finally put together a rally in the fifth inning. Mike Rivera drew a one-out walk and Luke Wakamatsu followed him up with a double to put two runners in scoring position. Mejia drilled a single into right field, scoring Rivera and Wakamatsu to tie the game at 3-3. Three batters later, Gonzalez plated Mejia on an RBI ground-out to give Lynchburg a 4-3 lead.

In the top of the ninth inning, the Hillcats looked to close things out against Fayetteville. With two outs, Jonathan Arauz ripped a single into the outfield to score Papierski which tied the game at 4-4 before Lynchburg walked off in the bottom of the frame.

Garza lasted five innings while giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and four walks while striking out two. Yapson Gomez was electric out of the bullpen shutting down the Woodpeckers bats across three frames while racking up six punch outs. Dakody Clemmer (Win, 2-0) allowed one run across an inning of work.

Chad Donato allowed four earned runs on seven hits across 4.1 innings for Fayetteville. Tommy DeJuneas took over for him, tossing 2.2 scoreless innings. Tanner Duncan (Loss, 0-2) allowed a run in one inning of work.

The Hillcats and Woodpeckers will meet again on Saturday. Fayetteville will send Yohan Ramirez (1-2, 2.52) to the mound to face off against the Hillcats, while Lynchburg will counter with Jean Carlos Mejia (2-0, 3.97). First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.

Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 5:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.

Saturday’s game will be Cats Cares Night at City Stadium, where all tickets are free but fans are asked to give a donation at the box office to a pre-selected charity of their choice. The game will also feature a postgame fireworks show presented by MedExpress.

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

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