Lynchburg Hillcats give up four in the eighth, lose opener to Wilmington

lynchburg hillcatsThe Lynchburg Hillcats spoiled a three-run lead by giving up four runs in the eighth inning and fell by a score of 6-5 in the first game of the series.

The Hillcats (13-9) had their four-game winning streak snapped on Friday while the Wilmington Blue Rocks (12-10) ended a six-game skid.

The Blue Rocks took their initial lead in the top of the second inning, when Wilmington collected a total of three infield hits and dropped down two sacrifice bunts to push across the first two runs of the ballgame.

Lynchburg responded when Trenton Brooks led off the bottom of the second with a double. He later came around to score on an RBI groundout by Jonathan Laureano. That cut the Hillcats’ deficit to 2-1.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Brooks reached base once again on a one-out walk. Laureano singled him in for his second RBI of the game to tie the game up at 2-2.

The starting pitchers continued to roll through the sixth, until the bullpens gave way in the seventh frame. That’s when the Hillcats would strike.

Wilbis Santiago, making his first start at City Stadium, reached base with a leadoff single. A Steven Kwan walk and a Dillon Persinger single loaded the bases for Oscar Gonzalez with two outs. Gonzalez delivered, singling in a run with an infield hit to give Lynchburg a 3-2 lead. Brooks then busted the door open with a line drive single into center field, bringing home two more and pushing the Hillcats advantage to 5-2.

Things blew up for the Hillcats bullpen in the top of the eighth. Yapson Gomez was chased from the game after loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Anderson Polanco (Loss, 0-1) took over and walked in a run to cut the lead to 5-3. MJ Melendez then unloaded the bases with a three-run double, putting the Blue Rocks back in front with a 6-5 lead.

The Blue Rocks bullpen tossed two scoreless frames to seal the victory for Wilmington.

Nick Gallagher started the game for the Hillcats and tossed a career-high six frames while allowing just two runs. Gomez gave up three earned runs in one inning of work while Polanco completed the remaining two frames while surrendering the winning run to the Blue Rocks.

Daniel Tillo threw six innings of two-run baseball for the Blue Rocks with a pair of punch outs. Holden Capps (Win, 2-1) surrendered three runs in an inning of work. Robert Garcia and Tyler Zuber (Save, 4) combined for two scoreless innings at the end of the game.

The HIllcats will look to get back into the win column against the Blue Rocks on Saturday in the second game of the series. Adam Scott (2-1, 3.18) draws the start for Lynchburg as he looks to build on a career night against Myrtle Beach his last time out. On the other side will be 2018 first-round selection Daniel Lynch (0-1, 5.19) who will face the Hillcats for the first time in his career. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air beginning at 5:50 p.m. on TuneIn Radio and Radio434.

Saturday’s contest will also be Autism Awareness Night at City Stadium, with a post-game fireworks show presented by Physicians Treatment Center. Gates will open at 5 p.m.

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



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