Lynchburg endures ninth-inning rally, completes sweep
The Hillcats held on after a scare in the ninth to win 7-6 and completed a three-game sweep of the Frederick Keys today. First baseman Aaron Baker’s three-run homer in the final inning brought the Keys within one but it wasn’t enough in the end. Center fielder Matt Lipka set the table all afternoon for the Hillcats, finishing the day 3-for-4, with a walk and a career-high four runs scored.
It was deja vu in the first inning Sunday. Third baseman Edward Salcedo put the Hillcats up 2-0 with a bases loaded single in the top of the first inning yesterday and did the same this afternoon. His single plated Lipka and designated hitter Tim Smith. The ‘Cats led 2-0 after one half inning.
Lynchburg surrendered the lead in the second inning. With runners at first and second and one out, catcher Joe Oliveira hit a shallow fly ball to right field. L.V. charged in but the ball hit off his glove and landed safely on the grass. Ware then had a chance to throw out the lead runner at third, but his throw was wide right, and the bases were loaded. Second baseman Michael Rooney then singled in a run and the bases stayed loaded. Shortstop Garbez Rosa followed with a sacrifice fly to right field.With runners at first and third and two outs, center fielder Michael Planeta hit a ground ball to shortstop Matt Weaver. Weaver fielded cleanly but his throw was low to first and went under the glove of Chris Garcia. Another run crossed home and the Keys led 3-2. The next batter flew out to left field to end the frame.
Second baseman Tommy La Stella tied the game up with an RBI single in the top of the third inning. The Hillcats went on to regain the lead in the fifth inning. La Stella doubled in Lipka and catcher Evan Gattis followed with another double. La Stella came around to score and Hillcats led 5-3.
Lynchburg added more insurance, which would prove to be important, in the sixth inning. Weaver hit a solo home run, his third of the season, in just his seventh game with the Hillcats this year. Later in the inning, LHP Chris Petrini walked Gattis with the bases loaded to bring in another run. It was 7-3 Hillcats.
It remained 7-3 until the bottom of the ninth. RHP Juan Jaime came out to pitch his second inning and finish the game in the ninth. Rosa started the inning with a single. LHP Matt Chaffee then began to warm up in the Hillcats bullpen. The next batter, Planeta, flew out to right field. Then, Jaime gave up another single to put two runners on for power-hitting left-handed batter, first baseman Aaron Baker. With Chaffee loose in the bullpen, Jaime was allowed to face the lefty Baker, who hit the first pitch his saw on a line over the right field wall. The three-run blast brought the Keys within one run. Jaime induced a fly out and struck out the final batter looking to finish the game. Lynchburg won 7-6.
RHP Gus Schlosser (3-0) earned the win with six and one-third innings, allowing three runs, one earned. RHP Scott Copeland (1-1) took the loss after surrendering seven runs, all earned, in five and two-thirds innings.
The Hillcats wrapped up their week-long road trip with a three-game sweep of the Keys. They went 4-3 during the trip and are now 13-8 this season. They sit in first place in the Northern Division.
Tomorrow the ‘Cats begin a seven-day homestand. It begins with four games against the Carolina Mudcats, before the Myrtle Beach Pelicans come to town for a Friday-Sunday weekend series. Game one against the Mudcats is set for 6:05pm tomorrow night. Lynchburg City Stadium will open its gates at 5:00pm. LHP Ronan Pacheco (0-2, 7.98) will start for the Hillcats against LHP T.J House (2-0, 1.44) for the Mudcats. If you can’t make it to the ballpark, you can 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 5:40pm.