The Lynchburg Hillcats fended off constant threats from the Carolina Mudcats, allowing just four runs on 12 hits, but lost 4-2 at Five County Stadium. Carolina went just 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11 runners on base. Tyler Tewell provided the offense for Lynchburg. blasting a two-run homer in the second.
The Mudcats (8-6, 37-44) took the early lead on a solo home run from LeVon Washington. It was his second of the season. That led off the first inning against Cody Scarpetta, who was making his first start since holding the Wilmington Blue Rocks to no hits through seven innings last Friday.
Tewell’s home run put the Hillcats (7-6, 41-42) on top 2-1 in the second. Ryan Merritt surrendered the long ball, the first off a left-handed pitcher for Tewell this season, and fifth overall. The Hillcats racked up five hits in the first two innings off of Merritt, who entered the game with a league-best 1.58 ERA.
Merritt (9-2) settled in, however. He did not allow a hit after a two-out double from Blake Brown in the second. He earned his league-leading ninth win of the season, allowing two runs on five hits, on walk, and five strikeouts in seven innings.
Carolina took the lead back from the Hillcats with two runs in the third. That third inning saw Scarpetta (2-2) throw 45 pitches to eight batters. He left the game after allowing three runs on six hits in three frames. He walked five including four in the third and struck out two in his losing effort.
The final run scored in the fourth inning for the Mudcats. Joe Sever hit a sac fly to drive in Washington with Nate Hyatt on the mound for the Lynchburg.
Still leading 4-2 in the ninth, the Mudcats called lefty Elvis Araujo into the game. He had an error made behind him and Brown added a single, but the Hillcats left two on the bases in the scoreless ninth. Araujo earned his eighth save of the season.
The Hillcats have lost three in a row, including the last two to the Mudcats. They’ll try to fend off the sweep tomorrow night at Five County Stadium. First pitch is at 7pm. The Hillcats will throw left-hander Daniel Watts (0-1, 3.00) against righty Michael Peoples (4-7, 4.88) for the Mudcats. The Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia will go on the air at 6:40pm on 97.9 The Planet.