Rocks snap skid against Lynchburg
The Hillcats had their four-game winning streak snapped in a 7-2 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks tonight. RHP Gus Schlosser gave up four runs, but only two were earned, in seven innings. He took his second consecutive loss as the Hillcats wrapped up a three-game series in Wilmington which they won 2-1.
An error in the bottom of the first inning allowed the Blue Rocks to take the early lead. With two outs and nobody on base, Cheslor Cuthbert hit a ground ball to shortstop Nick Ahmed. Ahmed rushed his throw to first and let it fly wide into the baseline. Cuthbert advanced to second on the wild throw, and then to third base on a wild pitch. Clean-up batter Brian Fletcher then singled to drive in Cuthbert. Wilmington led 1-0.
Lynchburg tied the game in the third inning. Back-to-back singles from Emerson Landoni and Matt Lipka got the inning started. Nick Ahmed then dropped down a sacrifice bunt. With runners at second and third and one out, Chris Garcia hit a ground ball to first base. Fletcher made the play at first base as Landoni scored from third to even the score 1-1. Lipka went stranded as Tim Smith popped up to first base to end the inning.
The Blue Rocks regained their lead in the bottom of the third, and would hold on to it the rest of the way. Whit Merrifield started a string of three straight one-out singles. The second hit came off the bat of Angel Franco. It hit the foot of the base umpire standing behind the mound. The ball was heading right toward the shortstop Ahmed, but instead it was a dead ball base hit. Cuthbert then singled home Merrifield and it was 2-1 Wilmington.
Another error in the fourth led to another unearned run against the Hillcats. Geulin Beltre stole second with one out and advanced to third base as the Ryan Query throw went into center field. Alex McClure then singled to left field to score Beltre. The inning ended after McClure was caught stealing second and the next batter grounded out to shortstop. It was 3-1 Blue Rocks.
One more run scored for the Hillcats in the fifth. Query led off the frame with a double to right-center. Two batters later, Lipka drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center field. Lynchburg trailed 3-2 and wouldn’t score again.
Wilmington added insurance runs in the seventh and eighth frames. Merrifield singled in a run in the seventh, and finished the nigth2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. LHP Blaine Sims surrendered four hits in the eighth inning, which led to three more runs, making it 7-2 Wilmington.
Schlosser (3-2) swallowed the his second straight loss giving up four runs, two earned, in seven innings. He gave up nine hits but walked no one and struck out five. RHP Sugar Ray Marimon (3-0) earned the win, allowing just two runs in seven innings on only four hits.
The Hillcats snapped a four-game winning streak with the loss but still won the series 2-1 over Wilmington. They are now 18-13 and still in first place in Northern Division.
Tomorrow night, the ‘Cats begin a seven-game homestand. The Winston-Salem Dash will be in town Friday-Sunday for a three-game set. Friday’s opener will begin at 6:05pm. LHP Dimasther Delgado (0-1, 4.50) will start for the Hillcats against RHP Ryan Buch (2-2, 5.61) for the Dash. Gates will open at 5:00pm. If you can’t make it to the ballpark, you can listen live to all the action starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchburg starting at 5:40pm on 105.5 KD Country and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com