Mudcats push past Hillcats with big seventh
The Hillcats (58-67, 26-32) had a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning before Carolina (63-66, 24-36) scored seven unanswered runs at one point.
Lynchburg started the scoring in the first inning. Steven Kwan led off the game with a single and moved to third on a double by Mitch Reeves. With one out, Gavin Collins plated Kwan with an RBI ground out to put Lynchburg ahead 1-0.
The Hillcats added to its lead in the fourth. Collins singled and went first to third on a hit from Connor Smith. Will Benson plated Collins with an RBI single to push Lynchburg’s advantage to 2-0.
Carolina trimmed the deficit in half in the bottom of the fifth inning., Leugim Castillo belted a solo home run, his first of the year, making it a 2-1 game.
In the sixth, the Mudcats went ahead for good. Wes Rogers reached on an infield single and reached third safely after Mario Feliciano doubled. Later in the frame, Rob Henry drilled a two-run single, scoring both Rogers and Feliciano to put Carolina in front, 3-2.
The Brewers affiliate put the game out of reach with a four-run seventh inning. Zach Clark singled to start the inning and Trever Morrison walked. Brice Turang plated Clark with a single and Morrison scored on a wild pitch. The Mudcats would score two more runs on a Payton Henry RBI ground out and an RBI double from Eddie Silva, stretching the lead to 7-2.
The Hillcats made some noise in the eighth inning. Muddies reliever Robbie Hitt walked four hitters to walk in a run, bringing the tying run to the plate. With the bases loaded, J.T. Hintzen (Save, 1) got Cody Farhat to ground out to end the frame.
Lynchburg went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and are now a season-high nine games below .500.
Brock Hartson (Loss, 1-2) started for the Hillcats and went 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits, fanning six. Manuel Alvarez worked 0.1 frames and surrendered three runs on three hits, while Dakody Clemmer allowed a run in two innings of relief.
Scotty Sunitsch started the game for Carolina working five innings of two-run ball, striking out six. Peter Strzelecki (Win, 2-0) worked two scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
The Hillcats continue their series against Carolina on Saturday in the middle game of the three-game set. Left-hander Kirk McCarty (3-5, 5.55) will start for Lynchburg against Mudcats lefty Aaron Ashby (2-6, 3.70). First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Five County Stadium.
Max Gun will be on the air at 4:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
The Hillcats return home on Monday, August 26 to begin the final homestand of the season when the Wilmington Blue Rocks and Winston-Salem Dash visit City Stadium. Homestand highlights include Kids Eat Free Tuesday, Winning Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Fantastic Friday, Sparkling Saturday, and Sandlot Sunday. Friday’s game will be Margaritaville Night at City Stadium with a Jimmy Buffett cover band and an Aloha Jersey Auction as well as a sunglasses giveaway courtesy of High Peak Sportswear. Saturday’s game will have the final fireworks show of the season at City Stadium.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.