Hillcats salvage series split with Down East
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET/Lynchburg Hillcats) - In a game postponed from Saturday, the Hillcats scored first but allowed four unanswered runs, falling 4-2 in the first game of a double-header at City Stadium on Sunday.
Lynchburg jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Hillcats loaded the bases on singles by Mitch Longo and Jodd Carter , followed by a walk to Erlin Cerda . Alexis Pantoja took advantage, lining an RBI single to left field. A batter later, Conner Capel added to the lead on a sacrifice fly to left field and the Hillcats jumped in front, 2-0.
The Wood Ducks answered with a run in the fourth against Hillcats starter Tanner Tully . Alex Kowalczyk led off the frame with a walk, and traded places at first base with Chuck LeBlanc, who reached on a fielder's choice two batters later. With Preston Scott at the plate, and LeBlanc running on the pitch, Scott laced a double into the left-center gap to trim the lead in half.
LeDarious Clark tied the score in the fifth with a solo home run to left field, his second long ball of the series.
Tully worked five innings and gave up five hits and two walks, striking out five. He left with the score knotted at two.
The score would remain tied until the seventh inning when the Wood Ducks put together four consecutive hits, scoring twice against Lynchburg reliever Dalbert Siri (Loss, 0-1), who allowed two earned runs on three hits in 1.2 innings. Leody Taveras and Brendon Davis each had RBI singles in Down East's go-ahead frame.
Cole Wiper (Win, 1-0) recorded the final six outs for Down East to seal the victory in game one.
In game two, Lynchburg relied on Justin Garza (Win, 1-0) in the second game of the twin bill, as the right-hander blanked the Wood Ducks through five scoreless innings in a 1-0 win to earn the series split.
Garza got off to a good start and never looked back. In his first inning in Advanced-A ball, he set down the Down East hitters in order by striking out the side and never slowed down.
He went on to strike out seven, and retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced. The only hit he allowed was a bunt single to Leody Tevares in the fourth inning.
The lone Lynchburg run came in the fourth inning. Mitch Longo scorched a leadoff double the opposite way to left field to set the table. After Wood Ducks starter Jonathan Hernandez set down the next two batters, Trenton Brooks came through with a clutch two-out single up the middle to bring home Longo for the 1-0 advantage.
Hernandez took the tough luck loss, striking out seven in four innings and allowing just four base runners.
Ben Krauth (Save, 1) came out of the bullpen for a six-out save, his first of the season. The left-hander impressed, striking out the side in the seventh to seal it. He relied on his tantalizing changeup to get the job done.
The Hillcats improve to 2-2 on the young season and continue their home stand on Monday night when they welcome the Buies Creek Astros to City Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. as righty Jake Paulson makes his first start of the season for the Hillcats, opposed by Astros right-hander Corbin Martin.