Wilmington rolls Hillcats, 11-5

Gus Schlosser had a rare poor performance when he allowed eight runs–five earned–in the 11-5 loss to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The ‘Cats tried to battle back, but the Blue Rocks offense was too much to handle. Lynchburg fell two games back of the Blue Rocks as they, and the Blue Rocks, look up at the Frederick Keys for the second half title.

The divisional battle between the Wilmington Blue Rocks and the Lynchburg Hillcats pitted Leondy Perez and Gus Schlosser against each other.

Schlosser got off to his typical start, striking out two of the first three batters he face, but that’s where the smiles ended for the ‘Cats’ ace.

The top of the second inning began with a walk and a single to put runners on the corners. Murray Watts came through with a sac fly to left field to score Matt Fields and give the Blue Rocks a 1-0 lead. Geulin Beltre would reach after the sac fly on third baseman, Edward Salcedo’s error. With runners at first and second, Juan Graterol hit an RBI single to right to score Cheslor Cuthbert and give Wilmington a 2-0 lead. Finally, a slow developing double play attempt was foiled when Angel Franco beat the throw to first and Beltre scored to push the lead to 3-0.

Another Sacledo error, his 40th of the season, put Fields on with one out. Cuthbert, squirched a double to left to put runners at second and third. Manager Luis Salazar called for the intentional walk of Watts to load the bases. Beltre made Salazar pay for the decision with a two-run single to balloon the lead to 5-0.

Lynchburg answered in the bottom of the third inning. After two quick outs to start the frame, the ‘Cats reeled off four straight hits, three that were extra-base hits, to score three runs. The highlight was Chris Garcia’s first triple of the season that scored Emerson Landoni. After three innings, Lynchburg trailed 5-3.

The good times were short lived with Orlando Calixte and Nick Van Stratten starting the top of the fourth off with back-to-back hits that lead to another run and a 6-3 lead for the B-Rocks. After a Fields single, Van Stratten advanced to third with one out. Cuthbert would earn his 58th RBI of the season by grounding out to Salcedo on a fielder’s choice that scored Van Stratten and made it 7-3.

Wilmington started the fifth off with a blast from Watts, his fourth of the season, to extend the lead to 8-3.

Perez was still in the game in the bottom of the sixth, but not for long. Three of the first four batters reached with a single to load the bases. The final single by Michael Spina knocked Perez out of the game in favor of Edwin Carl. David Rohm came through with a sac fly to right field off of Carl to score Adam Milligan and cut the lead in half, 8-4.

Again, the Blue Rocks would take over in the top of the seventh. A Cuthbert double started the inning with new pitcher, Caleb Brewer, on the mound. Cuthbert moved to third on a ground out, but would score on a Brewer wild pitch to get a run back for Wilmington and make it a 9-4 game.

The Blue Rocks weren’t done, in the top of the eighth with a runner on, Van Stratten blasted his first homer as a Blue Rock this season to blow the doors off the game. The score moved to 11-4.

Never ones to go quietly, the bottom of the ninth began with a Spina triple. Rohm came through with his second sac fly of the night to score Spina and make it 11-5. However, that’s all Lynchburg could muster.

Perez (4-4) got the win by going five and one-third innings, giving up eight hits that lead to four runs. Schlosser (13-5) had one of his worst outings of the season. He went five innings, gave up nine hits, eight runs–five earned–and walked three.

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