Lynchburg Hillcats outslug Winston-Salem
The Lynchburg Hillcats woke up their bats tonight with 19 hits on their way to a 15-8 win over the Winston-Salem Dash. Only 15 runs had scored in the first 3 games of the series before the 23-run explosion. Matt Lipka starred in the highlight filled night going 4-for-5 with a cycle. It was the second cycle by a Hillcat in less than nine months. Dan Brewer did it July 29, 2012 in Salem. The 15 runs and 19 hits for the ‘Cats tonight set new season-highs for the club.
The game started innocently enough with one run scoring in the first three and a half frames. Lipka doubled to lead off the second inning for the Hillcats. He made his way to third base with two outs, when Elmer grounded to shortstop. Chris Curley bobbled the groundball and Lipka came in to score.
The Dash had one hit through three innings before batting all nine in the fourth. They collected four singles in a four run fourth inning, including a two-run knock from Joey Demichele. The marathon inning spelled the end of the night for Hillcat starter Mark Pope, but was only a taste of what was to come.
Lipka and the Hillcats answered in the top of the fifth. Reyes lined out to begin the inning, but was followed by five straight hits. Kyle Kubitza doubled home William Beckwith and Robby Hefflinger. Then, David Rohm singled in Kubitza. Capping off the rally was Lipka with a two-run homer to left, his first of the season. The Hillcats led 6-4.
Winston-Salem tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Ronan Pacheco entered the game on the mound for Lynchburg. He got his first man, but then a single, walk, and a catcher’s interference call loaded the bases for Jeremy Farrell. Farrell singled in a pair of runs to even the game at 6-6.
The Hillcats offense wouldn’t let up, however. They plated four more runs in the sixth. Rohm drove in two more with a double, and Lipka got one step closer to his cycle with a two-run triple. I was his team-best third triple of the season. The ‘Cats went back up 10-6.
An error led to another run for the Dash in the bottom of the sixth, and the Hillcats scored two more in the seventh. Kubitza drove in two more with his second double of the night.
Kubitza, Rohm, and Lipka all had four or more RBI. Lipka ended up with five.
The Hillcats took a 12-8 lead into the ninth inning with Matt Lipka due up fifth in the frame. Beckwith led off the inning with a double off the wall in right field. Hefflinger then tripled to center driving in his only run of the night, despite recording a four hits. After Kubitza struck out, Rohm doubled home Hefflinger, to set the stage for Lipka. He had walked in the seventh inning in his first attempt to reach the cycle. In the ninth he turned on a fastball and sent it down the left field line. He took a big slow turn around first and headed back to the bag to complete his cycle.
The Hillcats went up 15-8 as Lipka drove in his fifth run and that would be the final.
Pacheco (1-0) earned the win as the Hillcats improved to 10-9 and jumped into first place in the Northern Division.
The Hillcats play in Salem next against the Red Sox tomorrow night at 7:05pm. RHP David Peterson (0-2, 3.07) takes the hill for the ‘Cats versus RHP William Cuevas (1-1,6.39) for the Red Sox. The Hillcats On-Deck Show powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg will go on the air at 6:40pm. Listen live to all the action on 97.9 FM The Planet and online atlynchburg-hillcats.com