Lynchburg Hillcats walk off Blue Rocks in 10 innings, 4-3

Lynchburg HillcatsThe Lynchburg Hillcats battled in a back-and-forth contest with the Wilmington Blue Rocks on Thursday night, ultimately coming away as victors by a 4-3 score in 10 innings.

The Hillcats (32-32) never had the lead in the game until Steven Kwan hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th to seal the win over the Blue Rocks (41-25).

With the game tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the tenth inning, the Hillcats started with Luke Wakamatsu on second base. A wild pitch allowed him to advance to third, and Kwan followed by ripping a single into center field to give the Hillcats a 4-3 win.

Earlier in the game, the two starters traded blow-for-blow in the first five frames of the contest, as Justin Garza and Jackson Kowar found themselves in a pitchers’ duel until the sixth inning came around.

The top of the sixth started off with a walk by Brewer Hicklen. After he was erased trying to steal second, Dennicher Carrasco got aboard with a single. Cristian Perez’s single set up runners on first and third, and Sebastian Rivero drove in Carrasco with a single of his own to give Wilmington a 1-0 lead.

Lynchburg led off the seventh with a double from Oscar Gonzalez. A single from Nolan Jones put runners on the corners with nobody out. With Gavin Collins at the plate, Kowar lost the grip on his fastball, spiking a ball in the dirt which rolled to the backstop. Gonzalez scored on the wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1.

Wilmington answered back in the eighth inning. Carrasco got on board with a double and eventually scored on a wild pitch to give the Blue Rocks a 2-1 lead.

Jonathan Laureano reached base with a walk in the bottom of the eighth inning for Lynchburg. A walk by Kwan moved him up to second base. Gonzalez singled and forced a throwing error by first baseman Nick Pratto to bring Laureano home to tie the game at 2-2.

In the ninth frame, Blake Perkins led off with a walk for Wilmington. A Hicklen double pushed him home to help the Blue Rocks retake the lead at 3-2.

But with a runner on second base and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Jose Vicente came through for Lynchburg with an RBI single to bring the game to a 3-3 tie and force extra innings.

Garza was spectacular for Lynchburg, firing six innings while giving up just one run and striking out four batters. Jonathan Teaney gave up an unearned run in two innings of work, and Riley Echols (Win, 2-0) was tagged with one earned run in two frames.

Kowar was dialed in for Wilmington as he threw seven innings of one-run baseball. Tyler Zuber was tagged for an earned run in an inning of work and blew his second save of the season. Josh Dye (Loss, 2-1) gave up two runs (one earned) in the tenth inning.

Lynchburg will look to secure the series split on Friday. Lefty starter Juan Hillman (3-5, 2.90) will toe the rubber for the Hillcats while Wilmington will send left-hander Marcelo Martinez (3-2, 4.53) to the mound. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.

Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 6:20 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.

Homestand highlights include Fantastic Friday, Sparkling Saturday and Sandlot Sunday. Friday’s game will be Breast Cancer Awareness Night with a postgame fireworks show presented by Centra while Saturday’s postgame fireworks show will be presented by Hometown Sales & Leasing Lynchburg & Madison Heights. The first 1,000 fans will receive a t-shirt giveaway on Friday,

For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.

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