Lynchburg Hillcats win 2019 home opener

lynchburg hillcatsThe Hillcats’ pitching staff impressed once again as Lynchburg came back against Salem for a 5-2 win on Opening Night at City Stadium.

Juan Hillman (Win, 1-0) threw six innings of two-run baseball, striking out six Red Sox batters and earning the win. Neither of Hillman’s runs allowed were earned; one came on a passed ball while the other scored on an error by shortstop Luke Wakamatsu.

Down 2-1 entering the fifth inning, Lynchburg took the lead and never surrendered it. With one out, Austen Wade walked and Wakamatsu reached on a bunt single. A batter later, Steven Kwan poked an RBI single to center field, scoring Wade to tie the game at 2-2. Later in the frame, Tyler Friis ripped an RBI double to the right-center gap, plating Wakamatsu to give the Hillcats a 3-2 edge.

Salem started the scoring in the first inning. Ryan Fitzgerald singled with one out and would later score on a passed ball for a 1-0 Red Sox lead.

The Boston affiliate added another in the fourth. Tanner Nishioka was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Garrett Benge singled to put two on. With one out, Michael Osinski hit a grounder to short, but Wakamatsu had it go between his legs for an error, scoring Nishioka for a 2-0 Sox lead.

Lynchburg tacked on some insurance with a pair of runs in the eighth. Jonathan Laureano singled with two out and scored on an RBI triple from Wade. Right fielder Marino Campana committed an error on the play, allowing Wade to circle the bases and score the team’s fifth and final run of the night..

Hillman started for Lynchburg and fired six innings in his Carolina League debut. He allowed just two unearned runs and struck out four. Robert Broom tossed two scoreless innings and Kyle Nelson nailed down the save with a scoreless ninth.

Daniel Gonzalez (Loss, 0-1) surrendered three earned runs and walked three in 5.2 innings.

The Hillcats will send right-hander Justin Garza (1-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound to face the Red Sox on Tuesday. Garza tossed five no-hit innings against Myrtle Beach on Opening Day in the Carolina League. Right-handed starter Kutter Crawford (0-0, 2.25 ERA), the Red Sox’ 22nd overall prospect according to Baseball America, will face Lynchburg in the contest.

Tuesday’s game will be a Kids Eat Free night at City Stadium, where all kids in attendance receive a free meal from the concession stand presented by MedExpress. First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m.

Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air beginning at 6:20 p.m. on TuneIn Radio and Radio434.

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

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