Slam sinks Lynchburg Hillcats in 11-6 loss
Jose Martinez gave Lynchburg the lead with a solo home run in the first inning, but Alex Monsalve’s grand slam gave Carolina the lead for good in the seventh, as the Mudcats went on to claim an 11-6 victory in the series finale at Calvin Falwell Field Thursday night.
Lynchburg (43-48) posted 17 hits in the defeat. Martinez’s second home run of the season initiated the scoring. After Lynchburg recorded 21 home runs as a team for the entire first half of the season, the Hillcats have now hit 15 in the first 21 games since the All-Star Break.
Carolina (42-47) tied the game in the top of the fourth with an RBI double by Jeremy Lucas, but the Hillcats responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame.
Kevin Ahrens and Justin Bloxom hit back-to-back singles to open the stanza. Will Skinner hit an RBI double to left, and Levi Hyams followed with a sacrifice fly to score Bloxom. Skinner came home two batters later on a two-out single by David Nick to stake Lynchburg to a 4-1 advantage.
In the fifth, the first five batters reached for the Mudcats before Wes Parsons left the game with an injury. Erik Gonzalez had a three-run triple as part of the four-run rally that pushed Carolina in front, 5-4. Parsons did not factor into the decision after being credited with four-plus innings and allowing five runs on seven hits during that time.
With the game tied entering the seventh, Carolina loaded the bases in front of Monsalve. The starting catcher blasted a grand slam over the left field wall to take a 9-5 lead.
Nate Hyatt (3-3) tied a career high with three innings of work, but suffered the loss after giving up four runs on three hits while striking out three. The victory went to Clayton Cook (1-3) after tossing three innings in relief and holding Lynchburg to two runs on four hits.
The Hillcats’ final run came in the seventh after a leadoff double by Martinez, who scored two batters later on an RBI groundout by Bloxom. That made the margin 9-6 in favor of the Mudcats. Carolina added a pair of runs in the ninth to complete the scoring. Martinez finished the game 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and two runs scored. He is hitting .378 in his first 19 games with Lynchburg.
Lynchburg will look to rebound on the road when it faces Myrtle Beach Friday at 7:05pm. Lucas Sims (6-7, 5.23) will start for the Hillcats. Erik Wilson will have the play-by-play from TicketReturn.com Field. Coverage begins with the Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia at 6:40pm on 97.9 The Planet.