The Lynchburg Hillcats lost a pitchers duel 2-1 to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans tonight. Lucas Sims was the tough-luck losing pitcher allowing two runs, but only one was earned, over 6.2 innings. The ‘Cats collected eight hits, but never more than one in an inning in the series opening loss.
An error put the Pelicans (13-10, 57-35) on top in the first inning. Chris Garia led off with a single, followed by a double down the left field line for Edwin Garcia. As Garia was pulling up at third base, Jose Martinez mishandled the baseball in left field. Garia sprinted home and the Pelicans took a 1-0 lead. Sims then struck two batters and induced a fly out to center field, making the run unearned.
The Hillcats (9-13, 43-49) threatened throughout the night but could never come through with a runner in scoring position. They went 0-for-10 with RISP, and stranded 14 runners on base.
Royce Bolinger gave the Pelicans a two-run lead with a solo shot in the fifth. It was the 10th home run allowed by Sims this season.
Lynchburg answered with their lone run in the sixth. Kevin Pucetas entered in relief for the starter Andrew Faulkner. The 29-year-old knuckleballer hit Will Skinner to start the inning. Two batters later Emerson Landoni doubled over Bolinger’s head in right field. Skinner scored from first.
Pucetas pitched into the eighth when Abel De Los Santos relieved him with a runner at first and one out. De Los Santos walked one, but retired the next two batters to get out of the inning. He pitched a scoreless ninth as well to record his seventh save of the season in seven tries.
Faulkner (8-1) earned the win holding the Hillcats scoreless over five innings. He allowed five hits, walked two and struck out five. Sims (6-8) took the loss in a quality outing. He gave up two runs, one earned, on six hits, while walking one, and striking out five.
The Hillcats have now lost four in a row and sit in fourth place in the Northern Division. The series with the Pelicans continues tomorrow night at 7:05pm. Right-hander Cody Scarpetta (3-2) will start for the Hillcats against lefty Victor Payano (3-6) for Myrtle Beach. The Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia will go on the air at 6:40pm. Erik Wilson will have the call on 97.9 The Planet.