Lynchburg Hillcats pitching staff fans season-high 16 in win
With one out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Hentges reached back for a little extra before his night came to a close. Leading 2-0, the southpaw proceeded to strike out Collin Woody and JC Escarra to record his ninth and tenth strikeout of the night to escape the jam, as the Hillcats (6-6) knocked off the Keys (6-7) for the second straight night.
Hentges (win, 2-0) finished the day by allowing just five hits and one walk in six innings. The ten strikeouts for the left-hander are the second most he has tallied in his career, and only twice did a runner reach third base against him. It marked the sixth consecutive game in which a Hillcats starter has gone at least five innings without giving up more than one earned run.
Lynchburg opened the scoring in the third inning against Keys starter Alex Wells (Loss, 0-1). Dillon Persinger, who was just promoted to the club hours before the game, led off the inning with a single to left field, which he hustled into an extra base on a bobble from left fielder Randolph Gassaway. Erlin Cerda followed with a sacrifice bunt, advancing Persinger to third, and then Mitch Longo came through with an RBI single past the drawn in infield to make it 1-0 Hillcats.
It was a two out rally that doubled the Lynchburg advantage in the fifth. Luke Wakamatsu laced a double down the right field line and then Li-Jen Chu followed with a single through the left side. Then on a 2-2 pitch, Emmanuel Tapia muscled a ball off the fists into center field to pick up his first RBI of the season and increase the lead to 2-0.
After Hillcats reliever Dalbert Siri pitched a scoreless seventh inning, the Keys would break up the Hillcats bid for back-to-back shutouts in the eighth. Preston Palmeiro reached on an error to lead off the inning, and then with two outs, Escarra singled through the right side to make it a 2-1 game.
Lynchburg skipper Rougie Odor turned things over to his closer, Henry Martinez (Save, 3), who struck out pinch-hitter Alejandro Juvier to end the eighth and avoid further damage.
The Hillcats stretched the lead in the home half of the ninth. With one out, Conner Capel reached on an infield single, and then Jodd Carter followed with a walk, one of his four free passes drawn on the night. Later in the frame with two outs, the newcomer Persinger came through again, belting a double down the left field line to score both runners and give Lynchburg a 4-1 advantage.
Martinez stayed on to work a three up, three down ninth inning, striking out two, to earn the four-out save. The Hillcats pitching staff combined to strike out 16 batters on the night, compiling a new season-high as a team.
The Hillcats go for the series sweep on Wednesday morning in a special 11:00 a.m. start for Say No To Drugs Day at City Stadium, where the Hillcats will host a number of Lynchburg area schools. The educational programming starts at 10 a.m., and will include Hillcats players, the Amherst County Sheriff’s Department, and Hillcats General Manager Ronnie Roberts. The Sheriff’s Department will be bringing a K-9 unit to demonstrate their drug sniffing dogs. It’s also Winning Wednesday at the ballpark where all fans in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday home contest.
Right hander Cristian Alvarado (2-0, 2.38) will get the start for Frederick, opposed by Lynchburg righty Zach Plesac (0-1, 5.91).
Max Gun and Matt Present will bring you the action beginning at 10:50 a.m. on TuneIn Radio, and the Radio434 App.
For tickets and more information visit Lynchburg-hillcats.com, the City Stadium ticket office, or call 434-528-1144.