Lynchburg slugs Blue Rocks
The ‘Cats slugged three bombs in their 11-7 victory against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The offense was in full swing, but Shawn McGill’s nearly completion of the cycle (he was a triple shy) and four RBI stood out on night where fireworks were expected only after the game. Aaron Northcraft also joined three teammates at the top of the leaderboard with his eighth win of the season on the 47th straight Independence Day game for the Lynchburg baseball franchise.
Chase Boruff had a tall task with “Player of the Month” candidate, Aaron Northcraft, on the mound. However, Boruff never could get settled.
The ‘Cats offense got started in the bottom of the first with a Nick Ahmed triple. One pitch later, Tommy La Stella hit a fly ball to left and Ahmed was able to tag-up for the early 1-0 lead.
The flood gates opened in the bottom of the second for the Hillcats offense. Bobby Stevens started the inning by reaching on a Orlando Calixte error, then, David Rohm blasted his first homer of the season to make it 3-0. A single and hit batter were the next two results off of Boruff, then Mycal Jones hit a ball in the right-center field gap that hit the ground and took off. Shawn McGill and Emerson Landoni scored, while Jones slid head first into third with a triple. The score was 5-0 when La Stella doubled to score Jones and extend the lead to 6-0.
The scoring barrage continued in the bottom of the third. Chris Garica started the inning with his seventh homer of the season to give the ‘Cats a seven-run lead. The next batter, Stevens, would get plunked to reach first. McGill’s fantastic day began to take form with his first homer of the season, a two-run shot that ended Boruff’s day. The 9-0 lead would stick for quite some time as Andrew Stueve shut down the offense for four and two-thirds perfect innings.
Wilmington got on the board in the top of the fifth with back-to-back doubles led to a run to make it 9-1. Then, Angel Franco grounded out and Kevin David scored from third to make it 9-2 with Northcraft still on the mound.
Lynchburg’s offense picked up in the bottom of the eighth when McGill hit a double to the left-center gap. Both Stevens and Rohm scored to extend the lead to 11-2.
Matt Chaffee was tabbed to finish the game for the ‘Cats, but things got dicey. Cheslor Cuthbert singled, Lane Adams doubled and on ball four to Brett Eibner, the ball went over McGill’s head and Cuthbert scored. David hit a sac fly to score Adams who advanced to third on the previous play to make it a 11-4 ballgame. Roman Hernandez reached on an error by La Stella with two outs. The breath nearly left the stadium as Franco destroyed a Chaffee pitch for a three-run home run to cut it to 11-7. However, Chaffee regrouped and got Whit Merrifield to ground out to end the game.
Northcraft got his eighth win of the season to tie teammates J.R. Graham, Cody Martin and Gus Schlosser for the league lead in the win column. Northcraft went a solid seven innings, allowing two runs, while fanning nine and walking one. He also allowed four hits. Boruff (1-5) got the loss. It was a brutal two and one-third innings that saw nine runs–seven earned–surrendered by Boruff. He allowed seven hits–three homer runs–and struck out one.