Lynchburg outhomers Salem, 2-1

Willi Castro and Claudio Bautista each hit solo home runs in the first two innings, which supplied all the offense the Hillcats needed in a 2-1 victory over Salem Friday night.

lynchburg hillcatsCastro’s home run occurred as the second batter of the game to give Lynchburg an initial 1-0 lead. It marked his second homer in as many nights and his 10th of the season, which ties him for third on the team. After Salem knotted the score in the next half-inning, Bautista broke the deadlock with a fly ball over the right-center field fence to make it 2-1 in favor of the Hillcats. Neither team scored the rest of the way.

Aaron Civale and Kyle Hart engaged in a pitchers’ duel for the first seven innings. Salem’s only run of the evening came on aTate Matheny solo homer in the top of the second, meaning that home runs accounted for all three runs in the game.

Civale (9-2) exited after needing only 80 pitches to make it through seven frames. He held Salem to one run on a mere three hits. The right-hander struck out five and walked none. Civale has tossed at least seven innings in eight of his 15 starts and not allowed a walked in seven of those eight outings. His 2.69 ERA would lead the league if he had enough innings to qualify.

Hart (2-2) took the hard-luck loss after only surrendering a pair of solo homers in seven innings. He allowed just three hits aside from that and struck out eight.

Jared Robinson pitched a scoreless eighth inning to preserve the 2-1 margin but allowed a leadoff walk to begin the ninth. Three batters later, Ben Krauth was on the mound with runners at first and third with only one out. Krauth struck out the next two batters to strand both the tying and go-ahead runners on base. It gave the left-hander his second save in as many chances since joining the team.

During the game, the Hillcats announced that total attendance in 2017 had already surpassed last year’s total of 122,929 with five home games remaining in the regular season.

Lynchburg continues its three-game weekend series against Salem Saturday at 6 p.m. Triston McKenzie (10-4, 3.44) will start for the Hillcats. Gates open at 5, and there will be postgame fireworks. The game can be heard live at www.lynchburg-hillcats.com.

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