Lynchburg loses finale to Dash
The HIllcats dropped their first rubber-match of the season 5-3 to the Winston-Salem Dash tonight. Lynchburg scored all three of their runs in the first inning before collecting just three hits the rest of the way, and are now 5-1 in deciding series finales. RHP Aaron Northcraft struck out nine in the contest and now leads the Carolina League with 103 this season.
Tommy La Stella put the Hillcats on the board right away in the top of the first inning. After Mycal Jones dropped a single down the right field line, Emerson Landoni drew a walk, and both scored of La Stella’s double into the right field corner.
The Dash got one run back in the bottom of the first with three hits off Northcraft. Dan Black singled in leadoff man Marcus Semein with one out. It was 3-1 Hillcats going to the second inning.
Both sides were held scoreless over the next three frames. RHP Jake Petricka faced the minimum in in that stretch despite two HIllcats reaching base. La Stella reached on an error in the third and was picked off of first base by the catcher, and David Rohm singled in the fourth but was caught stealing second. Northcraft did not allow a hit in the same span. He walked one and had another batter reach on an error.
Northcraft ran into trouble in the fifth. After another scoreless frame for Petricka, Northcraft gave up five straight singles to begin the bottom of the fifth inning. The first four all came into score. The Hillcats trailed 5-3. Northcraft stayed in to pitch a perfect sixth and ended his night.
RHP Terrance Marin relieved Petricka in the seventh. Gave up a single to Bobby Stevens but stranded him at second base. RHP Caleb Brewer was ready to take over for Northcraft in the bottom of the inning, but rain sent the game into a delay.
Just over 40 minutes later. The Hillcats sent LHP Blaine Sims into the game instead of Brewer. Sims went on to throw two scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and struck out two.
In the top of the eighth, after over 50 minutes between live game pitches Marin returned to mound for the Dash. He would sit down six straight Hillcats in the eighth and ninth innings. He earned his fifth save of the season with three scoreless innings of relief.
Petricka (5-5) secured the win after giving up three runs on four hits, while walking three and striking out eight. Northcraft swallowed the loss after surrendering five runs, four earned, on eight hits in six innings. He walked just one and struck out nine. Northcraft is the first Carolina League hurler to reach the 100 strikeout plateau this season.
The Hillcats dropped the series 2-1 and are now 10-9 in the second half, currently tied with the Potomac Nationals for first place in the Northern Division.