Pinto picks up first save with 1-2-3 ninth inning as Hillcats win third straight

Lynchburg HillcatsThe Lynchburg Hillcats rallied against the Frederick Keys on Monday night, winning in come-from-behind fashion, 4-3.

The Hillcats (7-5, 39-40) beat Frederick (5-7, 34-47) despite being outhit 8-5 by the Keys, and going just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Tied 3-3 in the ninth, Steven Kwan led off the inning with a walk. A pair of Matthias Dietz (Loss, 1-8) wild pitches moved Kwan to third, and Nolan Jones singled him home past a drawn in infield to push the Hillcats in front for good.

Lynchburg grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first. Tyler Freeman led off the contest with a single, and advanced to second after shortstop Yeltsin Gudino dropped the ball on a would-be force out. Later in the frame, Gavin Collins hit an RBI single to score Freeman. That marked the first of two errors that cost Frederick on Monday.

The Keys quickly took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. Trevor Craport reached on an error by Freeman, JC Escarra walked and Zach Jarrett singled to load the bases. Ryan Ripken plated Craport on a fielder’s choice, and Freeman committed another error on the play to allow Escarra to score, pushing Frederick in front.

Frederick added to its advantage in the third inning. Robie Thorburn reached on an error, and scored all the way from first on an RBI double from Craport, widening the gap to 3-1.

The game stayed that way until the top of the seventh. Lynchburg loaded the bases on a Freeman single and walks worked by Jones and Oscar Gonzalez. With two away, Will Benson hit a sharp ground ball to third base that was bobbled by Escarra for an error, allowing both Freeman and Jones to score to knot the game at 3-3.

Justin Garza started the game for Lynchburg. He scattered three unearned runs on five hits over 5.1 innings. He walked two and struck out six. Evan Mitchell (Win, 1-0) fired 2.2 scoreless frames and Aaron Pinto (Save, 1) nailed down the win with a 1-2-3 ninth.

DL Hall started for Frederick and worked five frames. He allowed an unearned run on two hits, walking four and punching out seven. Zach Matson gave up two unearned runs in 1.2 innings and Matthias Dietz (Loss, 1-8) allowed the go-ahead single in the ninth.

The Hillcats and Keys continue their series with the middle game of the three-game set on Tuesday. Lynchburg will send left-hander Hector Hernandez (0-1, 2.84) to the mound against Frederick righty Brenan Hanifee (5-7, 4.74). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Nymeo Field.

Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 6:50 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.

The Hillcats will return to City Stadium on Thursday for a Fourth of July extravaganza and Military Appreciation Weekend. Thursday’s game includes a jersey auction, a hot dog eating contest, post-game fireworks, and much more. Aloha Weekend festivities also include Fantastic Friday, Sparkling Saturday and Sandlot Sunday. Friday’s game will feature a hat giveaway to the first 1,000 fans and post-game fireworks presented by Foster Fuels and KD Country. Saturday’s post-game fireworks display is presented by MemberOne.

For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.


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