Lynchburg Hillcats swept in first-round Carolina League playoff series
Jack Lopez blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to clinch the Northern Division Championship on Friday night at Frawley Stadium. The Hillcats have been swept in the first round in each of the last three seasons.
SMALL BALL GIVES HILLCATS LEAD
Bobby Bradley led off the second with a single to center field, his first hit at the Advanced-A level, and Joe Sever followed with a base hit of his own that gave the Hillcats runners at the corners with no outs. Eric Haase lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Bradley from third to give the Hillcats an early 1-0 lead. Mike Papi followed in the next at-bat with a RBI double to right field that allowed Sever to score from first base to give the Hillcats a 2-0 lead.
AQUINO HAS QUALITY OUTING
Hillcats pitcher Jayson Aquino turned in one of his best performances as a Hillcat but was credited with the loss. Aquinopitched 7 1/3 innings and surrendered three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out five.
WILMINGTON TIES IT UP
Wilmington tied the game with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Cam Gallagher began the frame with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Humberto Arteaga. Dominique Taylor reached on a walk and both runners advanced on a wild pitch by Aquino before Carlos Garcia drove them both home with a two-out, two-RBI single that tied the game, 2-all.
LOPEZ WITH THE DAGGER
Aquino struck out Logan Moon to start the eighth inning but gave up a single to Carlos Garcia before being relieved by Trevor Frank. With a runner at first base, Frank left a pitch up in the zone that Lopez crushed over the left field wall to give Wilmington a 4-2 lead.
TRYING TO MOUNT A COMEBACK
Down to the final three outs, Joe Sever smacked a leadoff single up the middle to lead off the inning, and Castillo reached on a two-out walk that gave the Hillcats runners at first and second. Greg Allen entered the game to pinch run for Sever at second base, and Yhoxian Medina singled up the middle to score Allen and bring the Hillcats within one, 4-3. With the tying run at second base, Paul Hendrix struck out swinging to end the season.
KEEPING UP WITH THE CATS
With the loss, the Hillcats have been swept in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons…Lynchburg was swept by the Potomac Nationals in 2013 and 2014…Mike Papi led the Hillcats with a 2-for-4 night at the plate with a double and a RBI…Papi finished the season going 11-for-30 (.367) with three home runs, three doubles, and six RBIs in the month of September…Four members of the 2015 Hillcats will represent the Indians in the Arizona Fall League…Clint Frazier, Bradley Zimmer, Antonio Romero, and Grant Sides will head to Arizona to compete for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
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