Hillcats players are getting used to sprinting out of the dugout to maul one of their teammates rounding first base. One day after Daniel Castro delivered a game-ending RBI single in the 10th inning against Frederick, Kyle Wren provided a game-winning base hit in the ninth to give Lynchburg a 4-3 victory Saturday night at Calvin Falwell Field.
Tied 3-3 as the bottom of the ninth began, Lynchburg (2-1) did not want to play extra innings on back-to-back nights. With one out, Jose Peraza singled past a diving Michael Mosby at third base. He promptly stole second base off of lefty Lex Rutledge to move into scoring position.
Wren wasted no time in sending the Hillcats faithful home happy. He singled up the middle to drive home Peraza and give the Hillcats a 4-3 victory. Wren finished the game 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. He's tallied three RBIs in the past two games.
For the second-straight evening, Lynchburg had to stage a late-inning comeback, but this time they began a little sooner. Trailing 2-0 entering the seventh, the Hillcats finally broke through on the scoreboard after the crowd of 3,096 fans stretched.
After being hit by a pitch, Will Skinner advanced to second on a single by Daniel Castro and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Alejandro Piloto. That allowed Joe Odom to pick up an RBI on a groundout to second base, cutting the Hillcats deficit in half, 2-1.
Lynchburg kept the momentum going in the eighth with Wren and Josh Elander earning consecutive walks to lead off the inning. Two batters later and with first base opened, Frederick chose to intentionally walk Edison Sanchez and load the bases for Skinner. Skinner hit a fly ball to shallow right field, but Wren - whom Baseball America named the fastest baserunner drafted by Atlanta last year - displayed his speed by sprinting home to tie the score, 2-2.
One batter later Castro singled to score Elander and give the Hillcats their first lead, 3-2. Castro has begun the season strong, going 5-for-10 with two late-game, go-ahead RBIs in the first three contests.
Leading 3-2 heading into the ninth, it felt like Lynchburg had created all of the offense it needed, but Frederick tied the game in the top of the frame thanks to a two-out double by Torsten Boss followed by an RBI single by Adrian Marin.
Nate Hyatt (1-0) earned the victory out of the bullpen after striking out two but allowing the tying run in the ninth, while Rutledge (0-1) took the loss after blowing a save opportunity in the eighth and ultimately allowing the deciding run in the ninth.
Lynchburg looks to stay on the winning track Sunday when Jarett Miller (0-0) takes the mound for the first time this season at 2:05 pm. He will be opposed by Brady Wager (0-0) in the series finale against Frederick. It's an Autograph Sunday, so fans are encouraged to arrive early and get signatures from select HIllcats players. Additionally, Kids Club members eat free on Sundays. If you can't make it to the ballpark, you can tune in to the live play-by-play action with Erik Wilson and Kyle West, going on the air at 1:40pm on 97.9 The Planet.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.