Late homer lifts Lynchburg Hillcats past Winston-Salem

lynchburg hillcatsKevin Ahrens blasted a three-run homer over the left field fence in the bottom of the eighth to power the Lynchburg Hillcats ahead of Winston-Salem, 4-3, which ended up being the final score at Calvin Falwell Field Friday night.

Trailing 3-1, Eric Garcia began the comeback frame with a single. Jose Martinez replaced him on the bases after a fielder’s choice, and Justin Bloxom walked to put two runners on. Two batters later, Ahrens hit his second game-winning homer and his fifth overall of 2014. Ahrens leads the Hillcats (58-59) with 52 RBIs, including a team-best seven game-winners.

After Cody Fassold recorded a strikeout and a walk in the top of the ninth, Alex Wilson entered the game. Wilson got Courtney Hawkins to strike out, and Joe Odom picked off Cleuluis Rondon at first base to end the game. Wilson earned his 14th save of the year in as many tries, while Fassold improved to 2-0 after tossing 1.1 scoreless innings to earn the victory. Raul Fernandez (1-1) took the loss after blowing the save in the eighth.

Lucas Sims pitched the first six innings of the game and only had one bad frame. He allowed a leadoff single in the third inning to Zach Voight. After a lineout, he hit Hawkins with a pitch to set the stage for Jason Coats, who drove a three-run homer over the center field wall to give the Dash (54-63) a 3-0 lead. Sims shut down the Winston-Salem offense for the rest of his outing to post his sixth consecutive quality start.

Lynchburg’s initial run came in the fifth. Ahrens, Levi Hyams and Odom hit three consecutive singles to left field to open the stanza. Blake Brown lined a sacrifice fly to center field to knock home Ahrens and make the score 3-1.

Lynchburg and Winston-Salem meet again Saturday night at 6:05p. Daniel Watts (2-4, 5.40) will oppose Tyler Danish (5-2, 2.81) of the Dash. Gates open at 5pm, and there will be Postgame Fireworks presented by Apple Ford of Lynchburg. Erik Wilson and Kyle West will have the call on 97.9 The Planet at 5:40pm.

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