Long ball lifts Lynchburg Hillcats past Keys
The Hillcats (7-4, 36-42) homered twice in the seventh inning to break a 2-2 tie to hand the Keys (3-8, 38-42) their fourth straight loss.
Li-Jen Chu hit a solo shot in the seventh to put the Hillcats ahead on his second home run of the day, to give Lynchburg a 3-2 lead. Two batters later, Jodd Carter homered for the second time in the series, pushing the lead to 4-2.
It was the first time this season that the Hillcats hit three home runs in a game, and they left no runners on base. Chu has hit four home runs over his last nine games.
Lynchburg added some much needed insurance with three runs in the eighth. Emmanuel Tapia walked to lead off the inning and Angel Lopez reached on a bunt single. Ernie Clement laid down a sac bunt, but the throw from went down the right field line, allowing both Tapia and Lopez to score with Clement taking third base. Mitch Longo hit a sac fly to plate Clement, stretching the advantage to 7-2.
After Tanner Tully (Win, 3-8) left the game after the seventh, Micah Miniard took over in the eighth. He allowed an RBI single to Preston Palmeiro and a three-run home run to Randolph Gassaway in the frame, tightening the score to 7-6. Chris Clare’s double chased Miniard from the ballgame, but James Karinchak (Save, 8) struck out Jake Ring to strand the tying run at second base.
Frederick took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning. Jomar Reyes led off the frame with a double, and advanced to third on a ground ball out. Reyes scored on an RBI groundout from Ring.
The Hillcats took their first lead on Chu’s first home run of the afternoon, a two-run shot following Clement’s single in the fourth inning.
Frederick tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth when Palmeiro hit a solo homer, his 11th of the season.
Tully worked seven innings, allowing just two earned runs on seven hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. Miniard allowed four earned runs in 0.2 innings and Karinchak retired the side in order in the ninth to pick up the four-out save.
Keys starter Zac Lowther (Loss, 3-1) allowed a season-high four earned runs on five hits in seven innings.
The series continues on Monday with the third game of the four-game series. Right-hander Eli Morgan (4-2, 2.45) will start for Lynchburg against Keys righty Cristian Alvarado (7-5, 3.64). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Nymeo Field.
Max Gun and Matt Present will be on the air beginning at 6:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pregame show, on TuneIn Radio and Radio434.
The Hillcats return home on July 4 against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, for the start of a nine-game home stand. The game on July 4 will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the gates opening at a special time of 4 p.m. The Sandbar Band, a Jimmy Buffett cover band, will be live at City Stadium performing from 4 p.m. until approximately 6:15 p.m. After the game, fans will enjoy a special Independence Day fireworks show, presented by Kroger and Westover Dairy.
For tickets and more information visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, the City Stadium box office, or call 434-528-1144.