Lynchburg falls 8-3 to Frederick Keys
The Lynchburg Hillcats became the first Carolina League team with ten losses in the second half after an 8-3 loss to the Frederick Keys Friday night at Calvin Falwell Field. Christian Walker collected three hits, including a home run, and scored three times while Jerome Pena drove in three runs to propel the Keys’ offense.
Lynchburg (3-10, 39-43) has now lost three straight games. It’s the third time in the second half the ‘Cats have had a losing streak of at least three contests… 13 games into the second half.
A.J. Holland got the start for Lynchburg Friday night. He entered the game with a 7.71 ERA in first innings this season and stayed true to form, allowing a pair of runs in the first. Johnny Reutiger led off the game with a triple then immediately scored on a sacrifice fly by Jerome Pena. Walker crushed a solo home run over the scoreboard in left to make it 2-0.
Lynchburg evened the score in the second inning. After Trent Moses struck out to lead off the inning, the Hillcats rattled off four straight hits. Back-to-back doubled from Josh Elander and Shawn McGill got the Hillcats on the board before a Will Skinner singled in McGill to tie the game.
The Keys (7-8, 41-43) regained the lead in the fourth inning when Walker doubled with one out and scored on a two-out single by Jason Esposito. Pena picked up his second RBI of the game with a fifth-inning single to make it 4-2 Frederick.
Nine batters came to the plate in the sixth for Frederick, leading to a four-run frame to break things open. Walker doubled again, this time leading off the inning, followed by a single by Allan de San Miguel to put runners at the corners. Holland got a pop out before walking Brenden Webb to load the bases.
Holland (4-5) was pulled after the walk, all three runners would eventually score to give him a final line of seven runs on ten hits in 5.1 innings with three strikeouts and the lone free pass. Brandon Cunniff came on and gave up a sacrifice fly to the first batter he faced then walked Glynn Davis before Reutiger hit a line shot back up the middle to plate the other two inherited runners. Pena collected his third RBI with a line drive single to right field to cap off the four-run frame.
It was the first run charged to Cunniff’s line since being signed out of the Independent Frontier League. He had pitched four scoreless innings prior to Friday’s game. The inning finally ended when pitcher Zach Davies struck out swinging. Davies was forced to hit after starting catcher Michael Ohlman was ejected in the fifth inning. The only other catcher on the roster, de San Miguel, had been serving as the designated hitter so the Keys lost their DH spot with de San Miguel moving to the field.
Davies didn’t have success at the plate, but he was strong on the mound. Outside the two-run second inning, Davies had four 1-2-3 innings in his first five frames. Lynchburg got to him again in the sixth. The ‘Cats got runners at the corners with nobody out after back-to-back singles from Matt Lipka and David Rohm to lead off the frame. Kyle Kubitza bounced into a fielder’s choice, cutting down Rohm at second, to score Lipka.
Davies (5-3) got the win with a seven inning effort, allowing three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. John Cornely continued to stay hot on the mound for Lynchburg with two scoreless innings, but the Hillcats offense could get no closer.
The Hillcats look to salvage Saturday’s series finale with a 6:05pm game against the Keys. Gates open at 5pm and after the game, City Stadium will host the second fireworks show in three nights, this time presented by Harris Corporation, CVFCU and LMEFCU. Greg Ross (4-3, 3.44) returns to rotation for Lynchburg, taking on Luc Rennie (1-1, 4.26) for the Keys. If you can’t make it to the game, join Erik Wilson and Jake Levy for the call starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show, powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg, at 5:40pm on 97.9 FM The Planet and lynchburg-hillcats.com