Three Early Runs Prove Too Much in 4-2 Loss in Lynchburg

Carolina lost for the first time this season in a game started by Nelson Hernandez on Monday night

Tristen Lutz batting for the Carolina Mudcats at Grainger Stadium in Kinston, N.C. (Evan Moesta)

By Carolina Mudcats | May 13, 2019 10:45 PM

LYNCHBURG, VA - Tristen Lutz had a run scoring double in the second, Zach Clark tripled and scored in the fifth, but the Hillcats scored three runs in the first and held on for a 4-2 victory versus the Mudcats on Monday night at City Stadium in Lynchburg, VA.

The Mudcats (22-15) had won three straight before dropping Monday's series opener in Lynchburg to the Hillcats (18-17). The loss also came in game one of Carolina's four game series in Lynchburg and in game one of Carolina's seven game road trip.

Lynchburg's three run first included a two-run triple from Oscar Gonzalez and a run scoring sac fly from Gavin Collins. The triple was a line drive to center that was dove at and missed by Tristen Lutz in center. It scored also scored Jodd Carter and Nolan Jones who had reached on a force and singled respectively earlier in the inning. Collins then followed with his first of two sacrifice flies to give Lynchburg the early 3-0 lead.

Starter Nelson Hernandez allowed all three early runs in the first, but went on to work through four nearly perfect frames from the second through the fourth before allowing one more run in the sixth. In all, Hernandez (4-1, 4.97) allowed four runs, five hits, two walks and struck out two while reaching 87 pitches (58 strikes). The loss was Carolina's first in a game started by Hernandez as they were 7-0 in his starts before Monday's loss.

The Mudcats, meanwhile, began their comeback bid with a run in the third after Devin Hairston walked and scored on a RBI double from Lutz. The Lutz double resulted in the first and run and hit in the game for Carolina and cut the lead to 3-1. Clark later tripled and scored in the fifth when Hairston brought him in with a triple to right. 

Lutz went 1-for-4 with double and a RBI, Clark was 1-for-4 with a triple and a run and Hairston went 1-for-3 with a run and a RBI in the loss for the Mudcats.

Both of Carolina's runs were scored against Lynchburg's starter Matt Solter, but ended up not being enough in their series opening loss. Solter (1-0, 1.50) struck out seven, walked two and allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits over six innings while earning the victory in his Hillcats debut.

The Mudcats were within two of the lead in the fifth, but went on to strand two men on in the fifth and sixth before falling behind 4-2. Lynchburg's final run came across in the sixth after Gonzalez struck again with another extra base hit off Hernandez. Gonzalez doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly from Collins while putting Lynchburg up two in the game.

Gonzalez went 2-for-3 with a triple, a double, two runs, two RBI and his first walk of the season in the game for the Hillcats.

Relievers Yapson Gomez (H, 4), Anderson Polanco and Robert Broom eventually finished the game for Lynchburg as they combined to record nine straight out from the seventh through the ninth. Polanco (H, 2) struck out all three faced in the eighth and Broom (S, 1) struck out one in the ninth while earning his first save of the season.

J.T. Hintzen pitched the final two innings for the Mudcats and held the Hillcats scoreless while allowing one hit, walking one and striking out two.

UP NEXT: The Mudcats will next play on Tuesday in Lynchburg as they take on the Hillcats for the second time at City Stadium. Tuesday's game is also the second of a seven game road trip for the Mudcats. RHP Matt Smith (1-3, 4.38) will start for Carolina in Tuesday's 6:30 p.m. game in Lynchburg.

The game will air live on the Mudcats Radio Network, The Big Dawg 98.5 FM and online at carolinamudcats.com via TuneIn Radio.

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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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