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Lynchburg rallies, tops Winston-Salem, 5-4

lynchburg hillcatsThe Lynchburg Hillcats (30-26) completed their fourth comeback of three runs or more in the past week today with a 5-4 win over the Winston-Salem Dash (22-33). Levi Hyams singled home Kyle Wren in the eighth inning giving the Hillcats their first lead of the game, which held the rest of the way.

The Dash took a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Keon Barnum doubled to lead off the frame and moved to third base on a groundout to first. With one out, Justin Jirshele hit a fly ball to the right field corner. David Nick in a dead sprint came up just short of catching the long fly. Instead the ball bounced off the warning track and over the wall for a ground rule double. Nick’s momentum then took him into the three-foot high fence, and he went head over heels over the wall. Nick rose to his feet on his own and walked off the field without help. Will Skinner replaced him for the remainder of the game. Two batters after Jirshele, Zach Voight hit a two-run home run to left field.

Hillcats starter Wes Parson settled in after the homer to retire his next 10 batters in order. The streak was broken up by a hit batter with one out in the sixth. The Hillcats had just tied the score 3-3 in the top of the inning. Parson went on to surrender a double to Jason Coats and intentionally walk Barnum to load the bases. Grant Buckner then hit a line drive to third base off the glove of Hyams. The go-ahead run came into score on what was ruled a single do to how hard the ball was hit. Parsons stranded the bases loaded after that, but the ‘Cats trailed 4-3.

The comeback began again in the eighth as Jose Peraza tripled to lead off the frame. Wren followed with a walk. He stole second base on a pitch that got away from the catcher and Peraza came into score to tie the game at 4-4. Two batters later Hyams drove in Wren to put the ‘Cats on top.

Parsons (4-2) battled through seven innings allowing four earned runs on seven hits. He walked two, struck out six and earned the win. Alex Wilson relieved him in the eighth.

Wilson retired the first five batters he faced. One out away from finishing the game he gave up back-to-back singles to Tim Anderson and Joey DeMichele. Courtney Hawkins came up with runners at first and third, but he grounded out to third base to end the game. Wilson earned his team-best sixth save in six opportunities.

Peraza went 2-for-5 in the game with a pair of triples and scored three runs. He leads the team with 35 runs scored this season and he ranks third in the Carolina League with six triples.

The Hillcats remain in first place by a half-game over the Potomac Nationals going into the finale tomorrow night against the Dash. It’s the final game of the short road trip for Lynchburg. First pitch is set for 7pm. Right-hander Lucas Sims (5-3, 4.23) will start for the ‘Cats against righty Myles Jaye (1-0, 0.00) for the Dash. The Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia will go on the air at 6:40pm. Erik Wilson will have the call on 97.9 The Planet.