Lynchburg splits two with Dash

The ‘Cats and the Dash split a double dip in Lynchburg today after power outages pushed the series opener to today. The Dash came out on top in an eight inning affair in game one by a score of 5-4. The Hillcats picked up a win in game two, 5-2, thanks to Cody Martin’s career-high tying eight strike outs and four early runs.

After power outages caused Lynchburg City Stadium to stay dark on Sunday, the ‘Cats and Dash played two on Monday evening. Lynchburg took the early lead in bottom of the second off pitcher Steve McCray. Adam Milligan got it started with a sharp single. Chris Garcia worked a walk with one out to move Milligan to second. Then, with David Rohm at the plate, broke for third. Rohm hit a slow-roller to short, but Carlos Sanchez was breaking to cover second even though Garcia wasn’t moving. Milligan was waved home and scored on the play to make it 1-0.

The Dash offense would answer in the top of the fourth with Trayce Thompson’s 15th homer of the season. The game was tied at 1-1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Lynchburg started the inning off with two consecutive hits. Milligan singled and Bobby Stevens hit a ball over Michael Earley’s head in right. With runners at second and third, Garcia hit a soft grounder to the second baseman Marcus Semien, Milligan scored on the RBI-ground out to break the 1-1 tie. However, the scoring wasn’t over in the inning. With two outs, Matt Weaver hit a ball off the top of the right field wall, Stevens scored and the ‘Cats took a 3-1 lead.

The bottom of the fifth was a showcase of what speed can do. Mycal Jones hit a slow grounder to the Sanchez to start the inning. Sanchez charged and looked up to find Jones before he had the ball. After the ball squirted by Sanchez, Jones broke for second and slid in safely. With Nick Ahmed at the plate, Jones successfully stole third and–on the throw down–Miguel Gonzalez threw the ball into left field. Jones would trot home to make it a 4-1 game.

Graham looked poised to continue to cruise in the top of the sixth as he threw just 56 pitches through five innings. However, the top of the inning started with a Marcus Semien single, Sanchez walked and–for the second time on the day–Thompson blasted a Graham pitch over the wall. The three-run bomb gave Thompson a league-leading 16 home runs on the season and tied the game at 4-4.

In the bottom of the seventh, which is the final inning in doubleheaders, the ‘Cats started the inning off right with a Weaver single. Braeden Schlehuber tried to get a bunt down, but popped it up. Weaver was caught off the base on the failed attempt and was doubled-up after Cyle Hankerd made the play. Jones would end the inning by whiffing.

Winston-Salem’s offense was ready for battle in the top of the eighth with Chasen Shreve on the mound. Semien walked to start the inning, Sanchez got the sac bunt down to move Semien to second. Shreve fell behind Thompson 3-1 and the Manager Luis Salazar decided to intentionally walk him. With two runners on, Cyle Hankerd got the job down with a sinking single out to left field. Semien was waved home and strong throw from Stevens was curiously cut off by Weaver. Semien scored and that would be the winning run in the 5-4 game.

McCray (3-0) went seven innings and picked up the win. He allowed six hits, which led to four runs. McCray also walked one and fanned three. Shreve (4-4) got the loss because of his one earned run in two innings of work. He also walked two.

Game two got started with the Hillcats offense manufacturing a run in the bottom of the first. Jones walked to start the offense, Ahmed followed with a single to put runners in scoring position for new Hillcat, Shawn McGill. With McGill at the plate, Jones and Ahmed pulled off a successful double steal. McGill came through with an grounder to the right side. Jones scored as the Dash traded a run for an out. The inning would end with that being the sole run to cross the plate.

Lynchburg’s half of the second inning got started with a Garcia walk.  Three consecutive hits from Rohm, Emerson Landoni and Jones would move two runs across the plate to make it 3-0. Then, Ahmed hit a sharp grounder to Michael Johnson at third base, but after getting Jones at second, the second baseman, Sanchez threw the ball away and Landoni scored to make it 4-0.

Much like in the first game, the Dash bats woke up after trailing. Martin’s fifth and last inning of work was where he struggled the most, he gave up a double to Michael Earley, a single to Mike Blanke and David Herbek came through with a single to score Earley. The score was now 4-1. However, it could have been worse if Martin didn’t strike out the side.

Cole McCurry came in for the top of the sixth and Thompson greeted him by smashing a double out to left field. After a wild pitch that moved Thompson to third, Hankerd hit a grounder that scored Thompson to make it 4-2.

Unlike the first game, the ‘Cats answered back. It was a homer off of Milligan’s bat that made it 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Juan Jaime closed the door in the top of the seventh and earned his 16th save of the season.

Martin (8-6) got the win to create a four-way tie for first place in the pitcher’s win category. He went five inning, allowed one run on four hits. Martin also struck out a career-high eight for the third time this season. Upchurch got his first loss of the season in his first start, he is now 1-1 on the year with the Dash. Upchurch went four innings and allowed four runs–three earned– on four hits. He mixed in two walks and three Ks as well.

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