The Lynchburg Hillcats committed four errors this afternoon, two of which cost them an unearned run in the first inning of a 1-0 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Lucas Sims matched his season-high with seven innings and his career-high with nine strikeouts, but suffered the tough-luck loss for Lynchburg.
The Hillcats (14-15, 49-52) failed to complete the sweep and snapped a four-game winning streak today. Jack Lopez led off the bottom of the first inning with a single. Sims then threw the ball away at first base on a pick-off attempt. As Lopez attempted to reach third base on the error, Blake Brown’s throw from right field skipped off the glove of Levi Hyams at third. Sims was charged with an errant throw, Hyams was given a missed catch, and Lopez scored to put the Blue Rocks (15-15, 48-50) up 1-0.
Brandon Finnegan, the 17th overall pick in the 2014 draft, started for the Blue Rocks. He faced the minimum nine batters in three scoreless innings. He allowed one hit to Brown in the third inning, but induced a double play on the next pitch to finish his third professional start strong. Brown’s single is the only hit Finnegan has allowed in seven professional innings.
Blake Wood, who has pitched in the Major Leagues with Cleveland and Kansas City, relieved Finnegan. Wood (2-1) retired all six batters he faced, striking out one, and earned the win. John Walter and Mark Peterson completed the shutout for Wilmington. Peterson sat down four in row and earned his league-best 21st save of the season.
Brown finished the day 2-for-3 for Lynchburg. He collected the only two Hillcats hits against the Blue Rocks. It was the 11th shutout thrown by Wilmington this year, which is the most of any Carolina League team.
The Hillcats won two of three in Wilmington and now head home to host the Salem Red Sox for a three game series Tuesday through Thursday. The opener tomorrow night will begin at 7:05pm. Right-hander Cody Scarpetta (3-3, 2.75) will start for the Hillcats against right-hander Pat Light (3-5, 5.77) for the Red Sox. The gates will open at 6pm. Fans can also listen live to all the action starting at 6:40pm with the Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia. Erik Wilson and Kyle West will have the call on 97.9 The Planet.