Lynchburg drops Winston-Salem
A season-high 4,788 saw Edward Salcedo come through with two clutch hits to give the ‘Cats the lead. Lynchburg closer, Juan Jamie, shut the door with two on in the ninth with back-to-back strikeouts.
It had all the makings of a pitchers’ duel early on at Lynchburg City Stadium. The night began with both Dash righty Matt Heidenreich and J.R. Graham tossing two no-hit innings. However, the Dash struck first in the top of the third.
Miguel Gonzalez got the game’s first hit with a single under the glove of Hillcats’ shortstop Nick Ahmed. Jake Oester executed a perfect hit-and-run with Gonzalez on the move just one batter later. Gonzalez advanced to third with the league’s hottest hitter due up. Marcus Semien extended his league-best hit streak to 18 games with a single between the third baseman and shortstop, Oester advanced to second base and Gonzalez scored to make it 1-0. Dan Wagner laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Semien to second and Oester to third. The number three prospect in the White Sox organization, Trayce Thompson was up next. He laced a double into the left-center field gap. Both Semien and Oester scored to give the Dash a 3-0 lead. With one out, Hillcats’ third baseman, Edward Salcedo made an amazing play to rob Dan Black of a certain double. A ball was on a line when Salcedo dove to his left in full extension. After making the catch, Salcedo threw from his knees to second baseman Tommy La Stella to get Thompson, who was racing back towards second.
Heidenreich, continued his perfect game bid through four. It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth that the Hillcats could do any damage. Tim Smith took a pitch off the right shoulder to end the perfect game. Garcia got the first hit off Heidenreich between the first and second baseman to advance Smith to second. Mycal Jones, laid down a bunt intended to be for a hit and it was exactly that down the third base side. The bases were now loaded for Braeden Schlehuber after the Robby Hefflinger strikeout. Schlehuber hammered a double over Brady Shoemaker’s head in left. Smith and Garcia cruised home, but an errant throw by Shoemaker was recognized by Jones at third and he broke for home. Semien gathered the ball and threw home to Gonzalez, but Jones went head first with a hook slide to the back part of the plate. He reached his left hand around and touched home before Gonzalez could get to him. The score was tied 3-3.
A two-run rally would give the Hillcats the lead in the sixth. Smith got his fourth double of the season with two outs. Sacledo came through in the clutch with a single just one batter later to give the ‘Cats their first lead of the game, 4-3.
The Dash answered back in the top of the seventh. Gonzalez hit a slow roller over to Salcedo at third, Salcedo made a running throw, but it was off-target and got past Garcia at first. Gonzalez advanced to second base on Salcedo’s 12th error of the season. Oester was the next batter. He hit a hot shot down the right field side, but it was snagged by a diving Garcia on a hop. Gonzalez advanced to third for Semien. A liner up the middle by Semien scored Gonzalez to tie the game at four.
Lynchburg began the bottom of the eighth with walk to Matt Lipka by Nick McCully. La Stella added a one out single to right, the ball was bobbled by Nick Ciolli, Lipka broke for the third and La Stella broke for second on the Ciolli throw to third; each player was safe. The Dash intentionally walked Smith to load the bases for Salcedo. For the second time in the game, Salcedo came through in the clutch with a single up the middle to score Lipka and give the Hillcats a 5-4 lead. With the bases loaded, Garcia entered the box. He hit a high-chopper over Black at first, Black combined with Semien to get the lead runner, but McCully broke late to first and couldn’t get Garcia in time and dropped the Semien throw. Recognizing the mistake, Smith raced home and scored the second run of the play to give the Hillcats a three run cushion.
Lynchburg brought in the first of its closer duo, Matt Chaffee. The inning started with as solo blast by Michael Early to cut the lead to 7-5. Chaffee walked the next batter before a high fly ball was lost by Lipka in center field. Runners were at first and second for Semien, who tried to sacrifice himself, but couldn’t get the job done and eventually went down with the bunting strikeout. That would be the end of the night for Chaffee and part two of the closer duo, Juan Jamie entered. Wasting no time, Jamie came he challenged the Carlos Sanchez and Trayce Thompson with the gas. Neither could hit it and the Hillcats walked away with a thrilling victory in front of a packed house.
Chasen Shreve improved to 2-0 on the season. He went 1.2 innings, surrendering one and fanning one. Nick McCully fell to 2-2 after giving up three runs–two earned–in just 0.2 of a inning. He also walked two and struck out one. Juan Jaime got his fifth save of the season.
The series finale is slated for 2:05pm. The Hillcat’s will look for their third series sweep of the season. Aaron Northcraft (4-1, 2.12) will look to close out the Dash. Righty Jake Petricka (2-3, 5.63) will try to salvage the series for Winston-Salem. The Faith Night Sunday festivites will begin when the gates open tomorrow at 1:00 pm at Lynchburg City Stadium. If you can’t make it to the park, tune in and listen live to all the action on 105.5 FM KD Country and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show coming on the air at 1:40pm with Erik Wilson and Mike Viso.