Will Skinner hit two home runs as part of the action at City Stadium Wednesday night to increase his team-leading total to eight, but the Lynchburg Hillcats came away with two losses when it was all said and done. After falling 12-4 in the resumption of a suspended game Wednesday night, the Hillcats dropped a 5-4 result against the Carolina Mudcats in a contest that finished Thursday morning at Calvin Falwell Field.
In the nightcap, Skinner’s eighth home run of the season broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning to give the Hillcats (43-47) their first lead of the evening. Justin Bloxom scored on the fly ball over the left field fence after walking one batter earlier to give Skinner 37 RBIs for the season.
Carolina (41-47) cut its 3-1 deficit in half when Todd Hankins singled with one out in the fifth inning, stole second base and scored on an RBI single by LeVon Washington.
The Mudcats completed their comeback in the seventh with three runs on two hits, two walks and two wild pitches. Jarett Miller began the frame on the mound and struck out Hankins before allowing a single to Erik Gonzalez. Lynchburg went to the bullpen and brought in Ronan Pacheco, who walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. An RBI single by Jerrud Sabourin, a fielding error by Eric Garcia, and a sacrifice fly by Ryan Battaglia allowed all three runners to score and give Carolina a 5-3 lead.
Miller did not factor into the decision despite a strong outing in which he went 6.1 innings and held Carolina to three runs on seven hits. He struck out nine batters, which marked his second-best total of the season. Pacheco (2-1) took the loss after allowing two runs in one-third of an inning, although only one of the runs was earned.
Michael Peoples (6-7) went a season-high 6.2 innings and struck out eight, which was one off his season best. He allowed three runs on four hits in the victory. Ben Heller registered his first save at the Advanced-A level in spite of three walks in the ninth inning. He surrendered one run without a hit while striking out one.
With the score 5-3 entering the final frame, Skinner, Tyler Tewell and Levi Hyams all drew walks. Skinner scored on a wild pitch, but Tewell and Hyams were stranded in scoring position. The Hillcats fell to 9-11 in the second half of the season after losing the game that finished at 12:20am Thursday morning.
Daniel Carroll scored Lynchburg’s first run of the game on a wild pitch to tie the game 1-all after he singled in the third inning.
Earlier in the evening, the Hillcats and Mudcats resumed a game that was tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the sixth. Carolina scored two in the top of the seventh on a two-run homer by Gonzalez. Skinner responded with a solo home run in the bottom half of the frame, but Carolina scored seven runs on six hits in the eighth inning to decisively take the game, 12-4.
Zach Jadofsky (3-4) suffered the loss in the resumed game after allowing the Gonzalez home run, while Josh Martin (4-4) earned the win after only giving up the Skinner homer in 2.1 innings of relief.
Lynchburg will complete its seven-game homestand with the series finale against the Mudcats Thursday night at 7:05pm. It’s Turn Back the Clock Night presented by Best Western and Q99. The first 750 fans will receive a Lynchburg Shoemakers T-Shirt giveaway. Wes Parsons (4-5, 4.50) will start for the Hillcats against D.J. Brown (2-5, 4.64). Gates open at 6pm. Erik Wilson and Kyle West will call the action on 97.9 The Planet beginning at 6:40pm.