With the tying run at third and the winning run at second base in the ninth inning, Emerson Landoni lined a baseball up the middle, but the pitcher Grant Sides slowed it down with his mitt and Yhoxian Medina made a great backhanded play behind second base to throw out Landoni and give Carolina a 4-3 victory over Lynchburg.
Lynchburg (45-51) dropped the series opener against the Mudcats (46-48) to fall to 3-11 on the season against Carolina. The Hillcats held an early 2-0 advantage after scoring an unearned run in the first and adding another in the second.
Eric Garcia reached to begin the game for the Hillcats after the center fielder Todd Hankins dropped a fly ball. He scored two batters later on an RBI single by Jose Martinez. In the next stanza, Tyler Tewell hit a leadoff single and scored eventually on a base hit by Garcia to give Lynchburg a 2-0 lead through two innings.
Carolina tied the game in the fourth after a one-out triple by Erik Gonzalez, an RBI double by Joe Sever and an RBI single by Jeremy Lucas. The Mudcats moved in front for the first time in the fifth. Luigi Rodriguez hit a one-out single, and Gonzalez drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right field to give Carolina a 3-2 lead.
Lynchburg waited until the seventh to knot the score again. Daniel Carroll ripped a one-out double to left field. Blake Brown then stepped to the plate and knocked him in with an opposite-field single to right, making it a 3-3 contest.
In the top of the ninth, Carolina took the lead for the final time on a series of three singles. Jerrud Sabourin hit the initial single through the right side of the infield, and Luigi Rodriguez capped it off with an infield single up the middle.
Brady Feigl (0-1) took the loss after giving up a run in his Hillcat debut. The victory went to Jacob Lee (2-0) after he allowed an inherited runner to score in the seventh but did not allow a run of his own in 1.2 innings. Sides earned his second save of the year with a scoreless ninth despite two walks.
Neither starter factored into the decision in spite of strong outings from each. Lucas Sims posted a season-high seven strikeouts. He held Carolina to three runs on six hits in seven innings, which tied his longest appearance of the year. D.J. Brown went 6.1 innings and only allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out a pair.
The Hillcats threatened in the ninth when Carroll and Brown both walked and advanced a base on a groundout by Garcia. That put the tying and winning runs in scoring position, but a spectacular effort by the second baseman Medina ranging up the middle brought an end to the game.
Lynchburg and Carolina will meet again Thursday night at 7:05pm. The gates open at 6pm, and the first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a free cap courtesy of The U.S. Army and WLNI, rescheduled from June 20th. It’s also a Theme Thursday, Country & Western Night, so fans wearing a cowboy hat or boots will be admitted for $5. Cody Scarpetta (3-3, 3.00) will start for the Hillcats against Adam Plutko (2-4, 4.31). Fans who can’t make it to City Stadium can listen to the game live on 97.9 The Planet with coverage beginning at 6:40pm.