The Lynchburg Hillcats let the Wilmington Blue Rocks bat around the order in the ninth inning today, but hung on to win 6-5. It was the fourth consecutive win for the Hillcats (15-15, 49-51), which marks their second-longest winning streak of the season. The Blue Rocks (14-15, 47-50) left the bases loaded in the ninth and lost despite out-hitting the Hillcats 12-8.
Blair Walters made his organizational debut in the Braves system for the Hillcats and gave up just two runs over six innings. The former White Sox and Astros farmhand had been playing independent baseball earlier this season. Justin Bloxom gave Walters an initial lead to work with in the second inning with a solo home run. It was Bloxom’s first home run as a Hillcat.
Lynchburg added two more runs in the fourth. Luis Santos walked Blake Brown and Daniel Carroll with the bases loaded, and the ‘Cats took a 3-0 lead. Santos (2-2) walked six over five innings tonight. He allowed four runs on four hits and suffered the loss.
Raul Mondesi put the Blue Rocks on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Lynchburg and Wilmington traded runs in the fifth, and the score was 4-2 as the bullpens took over.
Navery Moore threw a scoreless seventh inning for the Hillcats. The offense then added two more runs in the eighth. David Nick drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Blake Brown hit an RBI single.
Mauricio Cabrera held the Blue Rocks scoreless in the eighth inning, but ran into trouble in the ninth. He gave up three straight hits including an RBI double to Jared Schlehuber and and RBI single to Daniel Rockett before leaving the game. Alex Wilson entered with the tying run at the plate and no outs. He got a line drive double play to the shortstop, doubling off Rockett at first base. He then walked two batters before giving up an RBI single to Bubba Starling.
With the tying run at second base, Mark Threlkeld hit a hard hopper to shortstop. Eric Garcia let the ball go off the heel of his mitt, and the bases were loaded with two outs. Wilson then induced a 4-6 fielders’s choice to end the game and collect his 11th save of the season.
Walters (1-0) earned the win for the Hillcats. He struck out four and only walked one in his Hillcats debut. The run allowed by Wilson snapped a scoreless innings streak of 18.1 frames, the longest by a Hillcat this season.
The Hillcats will now go for the sweep of the Blue Rocks tomorrow afternoon with a 12:05pm first pitch. Right-hander Lucas Sims (6-8, 4.90) will start for the Hillcats against Lefty Brandon Finnegan (0-0, 0.00) for Wilmington. The Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia will go on the air at 12pm. Erik Wilson will have the call on 97.9 The Planet.