Lynchburg Hillcats split two with Wilmington Blue Rocks
The Hillcats (30-32) used a 10-hit attack against the Blue Rocks (41-23) in the second game on Tuesday.
Lynchburg jumped out to an early lead when they plated a run in the top of the first. Steven Kwan led off the inning with a single and moved to third base after a ground out and a fielder’s choice. Later in the frame, Wilmington starter Rito Lugo uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Kwan to score for a 1-0 Hillcats lead.
Wilmington knotted up the game in the fourth. Nick Pratto led off with a single and stole second base. With one out, Cristian Perez lined an RBI single past a drawn in infield, scoring Pratto to even the contest at 1-1.
The Blue Rocks scored the go-ahead run in the sixth. Wilmington loaded the bases after Pratto and Seuly Matias walked and Perez was hit by a pitch. With one out, Sebastian Rivero hit a grounder to third base, and Nolan Jones threw home attempting to get the force out, but his throw sailed high, allowing Pratto to score on the error to give Wilmington a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish.
At one point, Blue Rocks pitching retried 12 consecutive Hillcats hitters.
Matt Solter started for Lynchburg and he allowed just one earned run on hits over five innings. He walked one and struck out four. Dakody Clemmer (Loss, 2-1) gave up an unearned run in the sixth. He walked two and struck out the side.
Lugo logged four innings in the spot start for the ‘Rocks. He surrendered a run on one hit, striking out two. Josh Dye (Win, 2-0) worked two scoreless frames and Tyler Zuber (Save, 11) nailed down the win in a clean seventh.
The Hillcats opened up the scoring early, plating four runs in the first inning. Trenton Brooks and Jodd Carter singled to start the game, and Nolan Jones was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. With one away, Gavin Collins lined a two-run single to left field, scoring both Brooks and Carter for a 2-0 Lynchburg lead. The next batter, Connor Smith, poked an RBI single to right field, allowing Jones to score which widened the gap to 3-0. Jonathan Laureano picked up an RBI on a fielder’s choice to score Collins, pushing the advantage to 4-0.
In the second, the Indians affiliate scored four more runs. Brooks, Jones and Oscar Gonzalez all walked to load the bases. Collins hit a ground ball to third base that was bobbled by Colby Schults for an error, and a second error on the play by the left fielder Rudy Martin led to two runs. Smith stroked another run-scoring single and Laureano lifted a sac fly to stretch the lead the 8-0.
Wilmington spoiled the shut out bid in the fifth. Sebastian Rivero doubled to lead off the inning and Jose Marquez singled him home to get the Blue Rocks on the board at 8-1.
Lynchburg scored its final run in the sixth. Carter led off with a single and eventually scored on an RBI single by Collins.
Collins finished the night cap by going 2-for-4 with a season-high four RBI. Carter, Collins and Smith each finished with multi-hit games.
Anderson Polanco started for the Hillcats and went four shutout innings. He allowed just one hit, walked two and fanned five. Felix Tati gave up the lone run to Wilmington in the sixth and Riley Echols (Win, 1-0) fired a scoreless sixth inning. Jonathan Teaney worked a clean seventh to lock down the victory.
Daniel Tillo (Loss, 4-6) gave up eight runs (six earned) on five hits in 1.1 frames. He walked three and struck out one. Josh Mitchell, Holden Capps and C.J. Eldred combined for 5.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Lynchburg will look for a series win in the rubber match and series finale against Wilmington on Wednesday night. The Blue Rocks will send lefty Kris Bubic (0-0, 3.86) to the mound, while the Hillcats have not yet announced a starting pitcher. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Frawley Stadium.
Max Gun will be on the air at 6:25 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
The Hillcats will return home to face the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Thursday, June 13 for a four-game series, the final series of the season’s first half. Weekend highlights include Thirsty Thursday, Fantastic Friday, Sparkling Saturday and Sandlot Sunday. Friday’s game will feature a post-game fireworks show presented by Centra while Saturday’s post-game fireworks show will be presented by Hometown Sales & Leasing Lynchburg & Madison Heights.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.