Lynchburg prevails in extras at Carolina

lynchburg hillcatsMike Papi and Anthony Santander each homered, but Carolina tied the game in the ninth to force Lynchburg to win in extras, eventually claiming a 7-3 victory in 10 innings at Five County Stadium Monday night.

Erison Mendez scored an unearned run after doubling in the first inning, and Lynchburg couldn’t generate much momentum early. Ryan Clark (0-3) held Lynchburg in check through four innings, only facing one more than the minimum in that time to keep Carolina on top, 1-0.

However, Mike Papi changed that with a leadoff home run in the fifth inning to knot the score, 1-1. Two innings later, another leadoff home run off the bat of Anthony Santander gave the Hillcats their first lead in the seventh, 2-1. Papi moved into a tie for second in the Carolina League with his seventh home run of the year. Santander’s homer marked his fourth of the season, all of which have been as a left-handed hitter.

Lynchburg added another run in the seventh when Bobby Bradley walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and came home on a two-out single by Daniel Salters.

Closing out a homestand that already featured three walk-off victories, Carolina found a way to make it interesting down the stretch again. Joe Odom drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth to cut it to one, 3-2. Braxton Davidson began the ninth with an opposite-field home run to tie the game and force extra innings.

Lynchburg sent 10 batters to the plate in the 10th inning to put the game out of reach, scoring four runs on only two hits. Paul Hendrix started the big frame with a line drive off Chase Johnson-Mullins that injured the left-handed pitcher and put Hendrixat first with an infield single. Salters laid down a bunt, and a bad throw allowed everyone to reach safely. Claudio Bautistawalked to fill the bases with one out.

With the bases loaded, Greg Allen was hit by a pitch to bring home the go-ahead run. Yu-Cheng Chang provided the big blow one batter later with a single to left. Chang picked up two RBIs, and a third run scored on the play thanks to a misplay by the pitcher Raymar Navarro. Lynchburg led 7-3 as a result.

Cam Hill struck out a pair in the bottom of the 10th to preserve the 7-3 margin and earn his first win at the Advanced-A level.Justus Sheffield didn’t factor into the decision despite a career-long 6 2/3 innings in which he struck out five and walked just one. The only run against Sheffield was unearned in the first inning, and the southpaw conceded a mere five hits. Johnson-Mullins (0-2) took the loss. Both of his defeats have been against the Hillcats.

Lynchburg has a league-best 32 homers, and 23 of them have been on the road…All of Mike Papi’s seven home runs have been solo shots.

Lynchburg returns home to host Salem for the first time this season Tuesday night. Mitch Brown (1-3, 4.98) will take the mound for Lynchburg in the series opener at 6:30 p.m. Fans can listen to the action on 93.3 FM and 1320 AM as well as www.lynchburg-hillcats.com, beginning with the Hillcats On-Deck Show at 6:15 p.m.

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