Lynchburg wins slugfest
It was another slugfest in Lynchburg between the Hillcats and the Blue Rocks. After jumping out to an 8-3 lead, the B-Rocks battled back to take a 9-8 lead, but a hustle play by Bobby Stevens broke a 9-9 tie and gave the ‘Cats a 10-9 victory on Thursday night. Edward Salcedo was the offensive star for the ‘Cats. He was three-for-three with a double, a walk and four runs scored. Brett Eibner mashed for Wilmington going three-for-five with a homer, a double and three RBI.
The game had potential to be a pitchers’ duel between Dimasther Delgado and Yordano Ventura, however, it was anything but. Things got started early in the top of the first when the second batter of the game, Geulin Beltre hit his third bomb of the season to give the Blue Rocks the early lead.
For the second game in a row, Lynchburg would put five runs on the board in bottom of the second. Adam Milligan, Edward Salcedo and Chris Garcia recorded hits to start the inning with Garcia’s scoring Salcedo to make it 1-1. Two batters later, Braeden Schlehuber would get his third career triple on a hit into the right-center field gap. Salcedo and Garcia scored to make it 3-1. Matt Weaver would smash a single up the middle that Schlehuber scored on for the inning’s fourth run. Finally, after Weaver was picked-off and Mycal Jones was hit by a pitch, Nick Ahmed hit a double. Jones was going to stop at third, but an errant throw by Roman Hernandez from left field allowed Jones to scamper home and Ahmed to move to third. The inning would end with a Tommy La Stella whiff and the ‘Cats ahead 5-1.
In the bottom of the third, Salcedo reached on a walk with one out. Garcia would hit a single to left-center field, Salcedo would break for third and Garcia tried to stretch it to a double put was thrown out. With Salcedo at third, David Rohm extended his hit streak with an RBI-single to make it 6-1. That would be the final inning of Ventura’s day.
Wilmington put one on the board in the top of the fourth. A double by Brett Eibner and a Hernandez single scored Eibner to make it 6-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Lynchburg answered back. After a lead-off walk to Jones, Ahmed doubled for the second time on the day and Jones scored easily to make it 7-2.
Again, it was Eibner in on the run for the Blue Rocks offense. This time, he was the run producer; Eibner hit a single with two outs to score Whit Merrifield. The score moved to 7-3 and would end Delgado’s day.
It was Edward Salcedo who helped manufacture a run in the bottom of the fifth. He began the inning with a double, then stole third. Garcia would ground out to second to plate Salcedo and make it 8-3.
After trading runs, Wilmington’s offense exploded in the top of the seventh. The Blue Rocks had 11 hitters come to the plate for seven hits and five runs. The inning was highlighted by Matt Fields and Eibner launching home runs off Ian Marshall to take the 9-8 lead.
The lead wouldn’t last long, it would be the ‘Cats roaring back in the bottom half of the frame. After Tyler Sample retired the first two batters of the inning, Manager Vance Wilson brought in Nick Graffeo to finish the inning. It didn’t go according to plan. Salcedo singled and Garcia doubled to score Salcedo to tie the game at 9-9. Bobby Stevens was tabbed to pinch-run for Garcia with David Rohm at the plate. Rohm hit a sharp grounder to the short stop Luis Pieterson, but the ball was dropped by Fields at first. Rohm was safe and Stevens hustled from second to beat the recovery throw by the front part of his foot. The aggressive move made it 10-9 and that’s where it would end.
Juan Jaime came in and closed the door by getting the final five outs of the game. He recorded four Ks with Beltre’s a called third strike that the outfielder tossed with one out in the ninth.
Blaine Sims (1-2) got the win. He went one and one-third innings, surrendered one run on two hits, while walking one and striking out one. Graffeo (0-1) got the loss for his one and one-third innings. He allowed two runs–one earned–on two hits. Graffeo also walked one and struck out two. Jaime’s save was his 17th of the season.