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Lynchburg splits doubleheader with Carolina

lynchburg hillcatsPaul Hendrix reached base all three times in his first game of the season and hit a solo home run to help Lynchburg split a twin bill against Carolina Saturday evening at City Stadium. Lynchburg dropped the first contest but bounced back with a 7-2 victory in the nightcap.

Hendrix reached base in his initial plate appearance by being hit by a pitch in the lower left leg. That loaded the bases for Mark Mathias. Mathias broke a scoreless tie with a walk that brought home Dorssys Paulino, who had singled earlier in the frame.Joe Odom, a former Hillcat, tied the game in the next inning with a solo home run.

In the third, Lynchburg recaptured the lead when Greg Allen singled, advanced from first to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Yu-Cheng Chang. Hendrix hit a solo home run off the right-field videoboard in the fourth inning to make it 3-1.

Lynchburg broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning, highlighted by Juan De La Cruz’s two-run double. De La Cruzplayed nine games for the Hillcats last year, and his double in his return plated Hendrix and Mathias. Allen followed with an RBI double to knock in De La Cruz. Two batters later, an RBI single by Anthony Santander completed the scoring. Carolina notched an unearned run in the seventh to make the final score 7-2 in game two.

Anderson Polanco received a spot start in the back end of the doubleheader and earned the win. The left-hander held Carolina to one run and three hits while striking out five in five innings. Polanco’s previous five appearances had all been out of the bullpen with his longest outing being 4 1/3 frames. David Speer tossed a scoreless sixth inning to earn a hold, and Luke Eubank struck out two with the only run against him being unearned in the seventh.

Lynchburg tried to rally back from a 5-1 deficit in the first game of the day but came up just short, stranding two runners in the seventh in a 5-4 loss.

The ‘Cats tallied the first run of the game on an RBI single by Bobby Bradley after Anthony Santander singled and stole second base to move himself into scoring position. However, Carolina used a three-run third and two runs in the fourth to take a 5-1 advantage. Tanner Murphy’s two-run homer in the fourth pushed it to a four-run margin.

Lynchburg scored twice in the fifth inning, which began with a Greg Allen double. Santander and Chang picked up the RBIs on a sacrifice fly and groundout, respectively.

In the seventh inning, a one-out single by Allen and a Chang double put the potential tying run in scoring position. Santanderbrought home Allen on a groundout to second base, which also moved Chang to third with two outs in a 5-4 game. However,Chase Johnson-Mullins struck out the final batter of the game to earn his fifth save of the year.

Enderson Franco (3-1) received the win after giving up three runs on seven hits in five innings while striking out five. Mitch Brown (1-2) took the loss after giving up five runs, three earned, on six hits in six frames.
Lynchburg played its first doubleheader of the season…Last year, the Hillcats set a team record with 10 doubleheaders, going 6-14 in those contests.

Lynchburg closes out its series against Carolina with a single game Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Luis Lugo (1-1, 4.97) will start for Lynchburg against right Matt Withrow (1-1, 1.04). 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 1:45 p.m.