Lynchburg Hillcats fall to Myrtle Beach in extra innings

Lynchburg HillcatsThe Lynchburg Hillcats made a late push, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game in the ninth inning, but fell in 10 innings to the Pelicans, 5-4.

Lynchburg (21-20) narrowly missed on sweeping the Pelicans (16-28) when the ‘Cats failed to cash in with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Down by a score of 5-4 in the bottom of the 10th, the Hillcats loaded up the bases after Trenton Brooks and Oscar Gonzalez each drew walks with nobody out. Jonathan Laureano went down on strikes and Gavin Collins grounded into a double play as Lynchburg failed to get the tying run across in the game’s final minutes.

Back in the first inning, the Pelicans got out to an early lead against Lynchburg starter Justin Garza. Zach Davis got on board with a leadoff single and Carlos Sepulveda walked to put runners on first and second with nobody away. The two executed a double steal to move into scoring position, and Cam Balego sent them home with a two RBI single to give Myrtle Beach a 2-0 advantage.

Myrtle Beach added onto its lead when Kevonte Mitchell blasted his seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to push their lead to 3-0.

The Hillcats answered back in the bottom of the second when Jose Vicente cracked a solo shot to dead center field for his first home run of the season, trimming the deficit to 3-1.

In the bottom of the third inning, Luke Wakamatsu led off the frame with a single. His was followed up by singles from Steven Kwan and Gabriel Mejia, who notched an RBI infield single to score Wakamatsu for the Hillcats’ second run of the game.

In the fifth inning, Brooks rifled a solo home run of his own, his third of the year, to tie the game up at 3-3.

With the game knotted up in the top of the seventh inning, Wladimir Galindo walloped his first homer of the season to put the Pelicans up by a score of 4-3.

Down to their last breath in the ninth inning, the Hillcats sent Wakamatsu up to the plate with nobody on base. The shortstop crushed his fourth homer of the season over the right field wall to tie the game up at 4-4 and send the game into extras.

With Sepulveda starting off the 10th inning on second base, a single by Balego put runners on the corners with nobody out. Tyler Payne hit a ground ball to Hillcats third baseman Nolan Jones, who came home with the ball and got Sepulveda out between third base and home. That put runners on first and second with one away. Luke Reynolds followed that up with a single into right field, and the throw back to home plate by Brooks on the play whizzed past the catcher Collins. The error by Collins allowed Balego to trot home for the go-ahead run for the Pelicans, who won by a 5-4 final.

Wakamatsu collected his first three-hit game of the season in the loss while Vicente, Kwan and Wilbis Santiago all had multi-hit contests as well.

Garza went five innings while allowing three earned runs on seven hits and one walk, striking out seven in the start for the Hillcats. Yapson Gomez followed him up with two innings of one-run baseball. Jonathan Teaney, throwing for his second game in a row, spun a scoreless frame and Robert Broom (Loss, 1-1) allowed one unearned run in two innings of work while notching three punch outs.

Luis Lugo got the start for the Pelicans, allowing three earned runs on nine hits while striking out four batters. Tyler Peyton tossed 2.2 innings without allowing a run. Ben Hecht (Win, 1-1) fired the final 2.1 innings while allowing one earned run.

The Hillcats will hit the road on Monday to play the Carolina Mudcats in a four-game set. Lynchburg will send right-hander Jean Carlos Mejia (2-0, 2.84) to face off against Carolina right-hander Noah Zavolas (2-2, 2.81). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. in Zebulon, N.C.

Max Gun will be on the air at 6:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.

The Hillcats return to City Stadium on Friday, May 24 for a four-game series against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers for the first-ever series between the two teams in Lynchburg. Aloha Weekend highlights include postgame fireworks shows on Friday, May 24 presented by Pepsi and Saturday, May 25 presented by MedExrpess. Saturday’s game will also be Cats Cares Night at City Stadium, where all tickets are free but fans are asked to give a donation at the box office to a pre-selected charity of their choice.

For tickets or more information, visit, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.

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