Lynchburg Hillcats top Mudcats

The Lynchburg Hillcats beat the Carolina Mudcats 7-4 in a game that actually started on time in a stormy weekend at Five County Stadium.

Lynchburg led early and throughout the game but didn’t go without a scare in their sweep-avoiding victory. The Mudcats brought the go-ahead run to the plate in both the eighth and ninth innings but fell short in the finale.

Carolina’s starter RHP Michael Goodnight walked three batters in the first inning, committed an error and had another committed by his defense. The Hillcats plated two runs without recording hit in the first frame. Lynchburg also took advantage on the base paths with three stolen bases. Dan Brewer led off with a walk, stole second and went to third on a wild throw in center field.

The next batter, Nick Ahmed, hit a ball a few feet in front of home plate. Goodnight picked it up and threw it under the glove of Jesus Aguilar at first base, allowing Brewer to score. Ahmed advanced to second base and stole third later on. After Shawn McGill drew a walk the Hillcats had runners at first and third. McGill attempted to steal second base on a 1-2 pitch to Edward Salcedo. The throw down to second beat McGill by about 15 feet and McGill got into a run down, which allowed Ahmed to score from third base. Lynchburg led 2-0 in the first.

They added another run in the second. Michael Spina was issued a walk, fourth from Goodnight. Three batters later, Brewer singled Spina home for his first RBI as a Hillcat.

The score remained 3-0 until the fifth. Goodnight gave up a single and walked another batter — make it six on the day. Then, a groundball with runners at first second went under the glove of Tony Wolters at shortstop. What appeared to be a sure-fire double play left runners at first and third and nobody out, and another HIllcats run on the board. RHP Will Roberts was called out of the bullpen at that point and Goodnight’s day was done. Roberts let both inherited runners score before completing the fifth. It was 6-0 Hillcats.

LHP Dimasther Delgado had thrown four scoreless innings but gave up his first and only run in the fifth. Delvi Cid doubled with one out. Two batters later, Bo Greenwell singled him home. Delgado finished the fifth inning, but that was all. The Lynchburg lead was 6-1.

RHP Ryne Harper entered in the sxith and sat down six in a row for two perfect frames. Meanwhile, Adam Milligan added to the Hillcats’ advantage with a solo homer in the seventh. It was his 10th of the season, tying the team lead.

Harper ran into trouble in the eighth. He walked the first batter but then induced a 5-4-3 double play. But with two outs, the Mudcats rallied with four straight hits including two doubles. First a wild pitch allowed Aguilar to score from third who started the rally. Then, Tyler Cannon doubled to plate Anthony Gallas. A single and a hit batter loaded the bases for Cid. He hit a rocket groundball off the glove of Salcedo at third base for infield single. One run scored and the bases remained loaded. Harper was removed and in came LHP Matt Chaffee. Chaffee extinguished the flames by getting Wolters to ground out to shortstop. The Hillcats led 7-4 heading to the ninth.

Lynchburg did not score and Chaffee went back to the mound for a four-out save. He walked the bases loaded around a pair of fly outs. Then, with the game-winning run at the plate, Chaffee induced another inning-ending grounder to his sure handed shortstop, Ahmed.

The Hillcats avoided the sweep with the win but finished their week-long road trip just 2-5. They are now 15-15 in the second and tied for first place in the Northern Division.

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