Will Skinner’s two-run homer off the video board in right-center field gave the Lynchburg Hillcats a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning en route to an 8-4 victory against Frederick in front of a capacity crowd of 5,652 fans at Calvin Falwell Field Friday night.
After seeing the Keys (36-46) plate three runs in the top of the frame to take a 4-3 lead, Lynchburg (42-43) responded immediately with a leadoff walk by Justin Bloxom followed by Skinner’s team-leading sixth home run of the year. Later in the stanza, Joe Odom and Eric Garcia singled. Odom and Garcia both scored on wild pitches to push the Hillcats advantage to 7-4.
Jarett Miller (4-6) earned the victory after holding the Keys to four runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings. He struck out five and only walked one. Alex Wilson tossed the final 2.1 innings without allowing a run to improve to a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities. Jimmy Yacabonis (0-2) took the loss after surrendering four runs on three hits and two walks in 1.1 innings of relief.
Facing Dylan Bundy, the top prospect in the Baltimore Orioles organization, Lynchburg scored first on an RBI single by David Nick in the second inning. Frederick tied the contest with an unearned run in the third when Jerome Pena scored after Mike Yastrzemski hit a groundball through the legs of Bloxom at first base.
With the game tied at 1-all entering the bottom of the fifth, Lynchburg broke the tie with two runs on one hit. Odom walked to open the frame, and Garcia doubled to send him to third. Jose Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Odom and give the Hillcats a 2-1 advantage. Garcia came home on a wild pitch to increase the margin to 3-1.
Frederick’s big inning immediately ensued when the Keys plated three runs on four hits, including doubles by Yastrzemski, Michael Burgess and Adrian Marin.
Lynchburg improved to 9-3 against the Keys this year, which includes a current streak of five straight wins. The Hillcats remain in first place of the second-half standings with an 8-7 mark since the All-Star Break, which is one game ahead of both the Potomac Nationals and Wilmington Blue Rocks (7-8).
Lynchburg and Frederick will face each other again Saturday night with a 6:05pm first pitch. Wes Parsons (4-4, 3.96) will start for the Hillcats against branden kline (4-3, 3.74). There will be postgame fireworks presented by Harris Corporation, Central Virginia Federal Credit Union & Lynchburg Municipal Employee Federal Credit Union. Fans can tune in to the game beginning at 5:40pm on 97.9 The Planet.