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Mendoza’s big hit sends Hillcats to 4-1 win

lynchburg hillcatsYonathan Mendoza stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning of a game that had been tied, 1-1, since the fourth. Coming off a three-RBI performance Tuesday, the switch-hitter delivered again Wednesday with a two-run single to center field to break the stalemate and send the Hillcats on their way to a 4-1 win against Salem.

Thomas Pannone shined again in his second start of the year. The southpaw struck out eight batters for the second consecutive outing and held Salem to two hits and a walk. The only run against him was unearned in six innings of work. Despite a pair of no-decisions, Pannone has 16 strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA in 11 innings.

Lynchburg claimed the initial lead of the contest in the third when Sam Haggerty singled, stole second base, and came home on an RBI single by Martin Cervenka. Cervenka is batting .421 to begin the year with three RBIs. He has hit safely in all five contests he has played.

Salem tied the game in the top of the fourth after Josh Tobias doubled to right field and advanced to third on a fielding error, which set up a sacrifice fly off the bat of Josh Ockimey. It remained 1-all until the eighth.

Haggerty lined a base hit to open the eighth, and Andrew Calica smacked an opposite-field double off the wall in left field to put two runners in scoring position. After an intentional walk to Cervenka and a fielder’s choice forced out a runner at home, Mendoza came through with his fourth and fifth RBIs of the season on a line drive to center field that brought home Calica and Cervenka. A two-out single from Salters combined with a throwing error plated Marabell to make the final margin 4-1.

Argenis Angulo (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief in which he struck out one. Justin Garcia notched his first save as a professional with two strikeouts in the ninth. Adam Lau (0-2) struck out four in 2 1/3 innings but took the loss after allowing the eventual go-ahead run to reach base in the eighth.

The Hillcats hit the road for the first time in 2017 when they travel to Myrtle Beach Thursday. Triston McKenzie (1-0, 1.59) will start for Lynchburg against left-hander Justin Steele (0-1, 2.25) at 7:05 p.m. Fans can hear the game live online at