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McKenzie shines in Hillcats debut, Lynchburg defeats Myrtle Beach, 6-1

McKenzie shines in Hillcats debut, Lynchburg defeats Myrtle Beach, 6-1

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET/Lynchburg Hillcats) - Triston McKenzie held Myrtle Beach to one run on just three hits, striking out five in 5 2/3 innings to earn a win in his Advanced-A debut, as the Hillcats cruised to a 6-1 victory Saturday night at City Stadium.

The Pelicans’ only run came on a solo homer by Tyler Pearson in the fifth inning, while Lynchburg plated six runs on seven hits. The Hillcats’ initial outburst occurred in the third when Lynchburg drove in three runs on three hits. Jodd Carter opened the stanza with a single, and Claudio Bautista walked to put the first two men aboard. Yonathan Mendoza laid down a bunt toward third base for an infield single to load the bases with nobody out. Andrew Calica brought in Carter on a fielder’s choice. Willi Castro picked up an RBI on a groundout to second base, and Martin Cervenka drove in the final run of the frame on a two-out single to right.

Leading 3-1 in the fifth, Ka’ai Tom walked to begin the inning and stole second base. He scored two batters later on a dropped fly ball in center field. A two-out rally in the seventh provided the final two markers for Lynchburg. With the bases clear, Cervenka ripped a double to right-center field, and Connor Marabell followed with an RBI single. Sicnarf Loopstok banked a high fly ball off the wall in right field for an RBI triple to make the final margin 6-1.

McKenzie (1-0) did not surrender a hit until Pearson hit a towering fly ball over the left field fence with two outs in the fifth. McKenize finished the game with five punchouts versus a pair of walks. He retired 12 in a row at one point. Leandro Linares fanned two batters as part of a scoreless inning of relief. Billy Strode also tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen, and Neil Holland went the final 1 1/3 frames with a strikeout to seal the win. Justin Steele (0-1) took the loss for the Pelicans.

Lynchburg tries to earn a series split against Myrtle Beach Sunday at 2 p.m. It’s the first Family Funday Sunday presented by ABC 13. Families can receive a family four-pack for $40. Additionally, kids can run the bases after the game, and all fans can play catch in the outfield following the contest. Jared Robinson will start for Lynchburg against Oscar De La Cruz.

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