After a 57-minute rain delay and a mid-game fireworks show, Lynchburg finally emerged with a 4-3 victory against Potomac thanks to a Willi Castro bases-loaded single in the 15th.
The Hillcats had loaded the bases on two previous occasions in the game but were unable to cash in on those. With one out and the infield drawn in, Castro sent the Hillcats faithful home happy with his groundball up the middle into center field. It capped off a 3-5 day for Castro in which he also walked twice to reach base five times. The switch-hitting shortstop is on a season-best seven-game hitting streak, which includes four consecutive multi-hit efforts and a game-tying home run in the ninth inning at Winston-Salem Tuesday.
Lynchburg never trailed at the end of a full inning Saturday. Potomac plated the first run of the game when Taylor Gushue drove in Austin Davidson , but the Hillcats answered immediately with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Sam Haggerty and Ka'ai Tom both drew walks out of the gate, and Martin Cervenka and Andrew Calica each drove in a run on separate infield singles to give Lynchburg a 2-1 lead.
Castro led off the fourth with a single, and Tom knocked him in with a base hit to push the margin to 3-1. Victor Robles hit a leadoff triple in the sixth and scored one batter later on a Davidson sacrifice fly to cut it to 3-2.
With two outs and runners on first and second in the ninth, Robles singled to center field. Bryan Mejia came home from second and scored before Calica could throw out Telmito Agustin at third base for the final out of the inning. That tied it at 3-all to force extras when the Hillcats failed to score in the home half.
Lynchburg's defense threw out multiple runners in the contest, including Agustin trying to advance from first to third on that play in the top of the ninth. Jodd Carter and Tom each had outfield assists as well. Tom threw out Robles at home in the first inning, and Carter pegged Mejia at home when he tried to tag and score the go-ahead run on a fly ball to right field in the 11th. Additionally, the Hillcats turned a season-high three double plays on the infield Saturday night.
Shane Bieber (0-0, 1.93) notched his third quality start in as many tries at the Advanced-A level but still failed to receive his first victory with the Hillcats. He struck out four and did not walk anyone while allowing just two runs in 6 2/3 innings. Bieber has an incredible 66 strikeouts and only three walks as a professional pitcher. Jordan Milbrath worked a scoreless 1 1/3 frames out of the bullpen. Jared Robinson surrendered the tying run in the ninth but kept Potomac off the board in the 10th and 11th while striking out three. Justin Garcia (2-1) earned the victory with four shutout innings that included a career-high seven strikeouts. The four innings matched his previous career high.
Lynchburg hosts Potomac for a doubleheader Sunday at 2 p.m. Gates open at 1. It's a Family Funday Sunday presented by ABC 13, which means Family 4-packs are available to receive four tickets and four hot dog meal combos for only $40. Plus, fans can play catch in the outfield after the game, and kids can run the bases as well. Fans can listen to both games live at www.lynchburg-hillcats.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.