Lynchburg Hillcats bullpen struggles in loss to Blue Rocks
A couple of big innings propelled Wilmington (43-25) to the win over Lynchburg (32-34) as they scored four runs in the seventh and another four in the eighth.
The Blue Rocks got on the board in the very first at-bat of the ball-game. Blake Perkins went deep off of Hillcats starter Adam Scott (Loss, 3-7) to put Wilmington in the driver’s seat with a 1-0 lead.
Lynchburg answered back in the bottom half of the first inning. Steven Kwan led off the frame with a double, and Oscar Gonzalez singled to move Kwan to third base. Gavin Collins followed that up by ripping an RBI single into left field to score Kwan, tying the game at 1-1.
Wilmington would retake its lead in the third inning. Rudy Martin was hit by a pitch and Perkins walked to put two aboard with one out. Cristian Perez crushed a fly ball into center field that resulted in an RBI triple, scoring both Martin and Perkins to make it 3-1 Blue Rocks.
Both teams would cruise until the top of the seventh, when Wilmington struck again. Kyle Kasser drew a lead-off walk, and a Martin single and Perkins walk loaded the bases with none away. Brewer Hicklen took advantage of the situation, smashing a ball deep into center and clearing the fence for a grand slam. The Blue Rocks led 7-1 after seven.
Martin got another rally started in the eighth for Wilmington, singling with one away. A double by Perkins put runners in scoring position, and Perez knocked in Martin with a single. A double by MJ Melendez plated Perkins, and a single by Nick Pratto scored Perez and Melendez to give Wilmington an 11-1 lead that they would never relinquish.
Scott allowed four earned runs on four hits in six innings of work while striking out seven batters in the start for Lynchburg. Felix Tati allowed four runs (three earned) in a third of an inning. Zach Draper was tagged for four runs (none earned) in 1.1 innings while Aaron Pinto fired 1.1 scoreless frames.
Rito Lugo (Win, 1-1) allowed one earned run across five innings. C.J. Eldred, Bryan Brickhouse, and Tyler Zuber combined for four scoreless innings in the back-end for the Blue Rocks to secure the win.
Lynchburg and Wilmington will face off on Sunday in the final game of the first half. The Blue Rocks will send left-hander Daniel Tillo (4-6, 5.55) to the mound in the matinee while the Hillcats will counter with righty Matt Solter (4-1, 2.90). First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.
Anders Jorstad and Emily Messina will be on the air at 2:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
Sunday’s game will be a Sandlot Sunday, in which all kids in attendance will be able to run the bases following the conclusion of the game.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.