Lynchburg Hillcats win third straight
Fernando De Los Santos, who entered Friday with just two hits on the season, delivered a bases loaded triple in the ninth that proves the difference in a Lynchburg Hillcats 6-3 win over the Salem Red Sox in the series opener at Salem Memorial Ballpark. James Hoyt pitched four scoreless innings out of the bullpen for Lynchburg. Hoyt has now gone 16.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
The Red Sox got on the board first, striking for a run in the second inning. Two walks and an infield single loaded the bases with no one out and a double play off the bat of Henry Ramos allowed Brandon Jacobs to score, putting the Red Sox up 1-0.
The Hillcats tied things up in the fourth. Elmer Reyes picked up a one out double, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a base hit from William Beckwith. Beckwith has now reached base in 13 straight games.
Lynchburg starter David Peterson appeared to be cruising along through four innings but was replaced in the fifth. Peterson allowed one run on two hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts, leaving with the score tied at 1-1.
James Hoyt (2-0) was dominant out of the pen for the Hillcats, going four scoreless innings and allowing just one infield single while striking out four Red Sox. Only one ball left the infield off Hoyt, a lazy fly ball to right field in the seventh.
The Hillcats broke the tie with three straight extra base hits to start the sixth. Fernando De Los Santos doubled, Matt Weaver hit an RBI-triple and Reyes hit his second double of the game to drive in Weaver and give the Hillcats the 3-1 lead.
That spelled the end for Red Sox starter William Cuevas. After five scoreless innings against the Hillcats five days ago, Cuevas (1-2) went 5+ innings this time around, giving up three runs on five hits.
The Hillcats tacked on some insurance in the ninth. Two walks and a single loaded the bases with two outs and De Los Santos delivered a line drive to right-center to chase everybody home on his first triple of the year and make it 6-1. It was De Los Santos’ first multi-hit game of the season.
That hit turned out to be the difference maker. Wilson Rivera came on for the Hillcats in the ninth. He gave up a leadoff single to Sean Coyle, who had been 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, before a Garin Cecchini triple chased home Coyle.
The next hitter, Brandon Jacobs, lined one to left-center to score Cecchini. Will Skinner, who was brought on as a pinch runner in the top of the ninth, cut the ball off beautifully and was able to spin and fire to second to allow De Los Santos to tag Jacobs out at second. That cleared the bases with two outs and Rivera got Keury De La Cruz to fly out to center to end the game.
The Hillcats go for four-in-a-row and look to match their longest winning streak of the season on Saturday. Navery Moore (1-2, 7.27) is on the hill for Lynchburg, taking on Mike McCarthy (0-0, 3.77) for Salem. First pitch is 6:05pm and you can catch all the play-by-play action with Erik Wilson and Jake Levy, starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show, powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg, hitting the air at 5:40pm on 97.9 FM The Planet and lynchburg-hillcats.com.