Lynchburg Hillcats slip past Salem Red Sox, 3-1
With the game tied at one entering the eighth, the Hillcats took the lead thanks, in part, to some small ball to begin the frame. Luigi Rodriguez bounced a grounder to third base that Jose Vinicio bobbled on the transfer from glove to hand. He hurried the throw and sent it past Jordan Betts at first base, giving Rodriguez second base. Clint Frazier then dropped a sacrifice bunt down, advancing Rodriguez to third and setting up a sacrifice fly from Bradley Zimmer.
Lynchburg added to the lead with a single from Nellie Rodriguez followed by an RBI double off the bat of Paul Hendrix for a 3-1 Hillcat lead.
Salem put the tying run on base in the eighth and ninth innings, but was unable to push across any tallies.
The Red Sox got started early with their only run coming in the first inning. Tzu-Wei Lin smoked a double to right-center and then scored two batters later on a Kevin Heller RBI single. With two outs, Heller stood at third base and took off for home on a potential wild pitch. Sicnarf Loopstok tracked down the ball in time to toss to the covering D.J. Brown, who tagged out Heller to end the inning.
Lynchburg tied the game thanks to a pair of doubles in the fourth inning. Nellie Rodriguez led off the frame with a two-bagger and was driven home two batters later by Mike Papi to even the score at one.
Meanwhile, a pitcher’s duel raged on with Kevin McAvoy tossing six one-run innings for the Red Sox. He allowed six hits and walked a pair to go with two strikeouts but did not factor in the decision. Brown (5-3) was also impressive with seven innings on the bump, allowing a run on five hits. He walked two and struck out five in the winning effort.
Vinicio was 2-for-3 with a triple and Heller went 1-for-3 with an RBI to lead the way offensively for Salem. Lynchburg was paced by Nellie Rodriguez, who scored twice in a 3-for-4 effort.
The Hillcats improved to 7-0 in games played at LewisGale Field and put up five doubles, giving them 32 in nine games against the Red Sox. Salem dropped to 40-35 overall and 2-3 in the second half will Lynchburg climbed to 35-39 and 2-2, respectively.
The Sox and ‘Cats close out the series on Tuesday morning at 11:05 a.m. on Camp Day at Salem Memorial Ballpark. Salem will trot out Aaron Wilkerson (4-0, 1.93) to oppose Luis Lugo (4-6, 5.22). Fans unable to attend can listen to the game on 1240 AM ESPN Roanoke, online at salemsox.com or via the TuneIn Radio app.
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