Trailing 6-0 early, the Lynchburg Hillcats (16-20) scored five unanswered runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull within one, but ultimately fell to the Carolina Mudcats (19-16) by a final score of 13-5 this afternoon. Daniel Castro led the Hillcats offense with two hits, two RBIs, and a run scored, but a seven-run Carolina eighth was too much to overcome.
The Mudcats took a 5-0 lead in the third inning. Erik Gonzalez singled in a run with one out, followed by a three-run home run for Anthony Gallas, his sixth of the season. LUigi Rodriguez then reached on a bunt single. He scored two batters later on an RBI double for Ryan Battaglia, his first hit of the season.
Hillcats starter Lay Batista pitched through the third but only retired one batter in the fourth before Lynchburg went to the bullpen. Another RBi single for Gonzalez was the knockout punch for Batista (1-1) who gave up six runs on eight hits and suffered his first loss of the season.
Eric Pfisterer relieved Batista and retired eight straight Mudcats. He struck out the side in the fifth inning. It was just his second scoreless outing of the season. Meanwhile, the Hillcats waged a comeback. Castro, Will Skinner, and Edison Sanchez all contributed RBI doubles in a four-run sixth. They added another run in the seventh with an RBI single for Castro. Lynchburg only trailed 6-5.
Matt Chaffee pitched a scoreless seventh for the Hillcats but ran into trouble in the eighth. He gave up a leadoff double and then hit a batter. With runners at first and third, Yhoxian Medina bounced a ball to the mound. Chaffee fielded and flipped the ball the catch Nunez. The ball beat the runner Battaglia, but Nunez missed the catch allowing the run to score. The next batter, Todd Hankins, hit a three-run homer igniting a huge inning for Carolina. They batted 12 and scored seven to take a 13-5 lead.
Louis head who had already pitched a perfect eighth, stayed in for the ninth. He completed the final inning scoreless and earned his league leading eighth save of the season. Shawn Morimando (4-2) earned the win. He gave up three runs on three hits, walked three and struck out three in five-plus innings.
With the series even 1-1, the Hillcats and Mudcats will meet again Wednesday night for the rubber match. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00pm. Right-hander Greg Ross (2-1, 2.43) will start for Lynchburg against righty D.J. Brown (2-2, 2.93) for Carolina. The Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia will go on the air at 6:40pm. Erik Wilson will have the call live on 97.9 The Planet.