Eric Garcia went 3-for-4 with two walks, a double, an RBI, a stolen base and a run scored, and the Hillcats led 5-2 for most of the game, but Salem scored four runs in the final three innings, capped off by a walk-off single by Ryan Dent, to defeat the Hillcats, 6-5, at LewisGale Field Sunday afternoon.
With the score tied at five, Carson Blair and Mario Martinez singled to begin the ninth. Dreily Guerrero tried to bunt the runners over, but Zach Jadofsky came off the front of the mound and threw out Blair at third. Aneury Tavarez singled to left to load the bases. Nate Hyatt entered the game out of the bullpen, and Ryan Dent hit a line drive down the left field line to end the game.
Jadofsky (3-2) suffered the loss after allowing two runs in 1.1 innings. Jarett Miller did not factor into the decision despite his second consecutive quality start and his fourth of the year. The right-hander held Salem to two runs on six hits while striking out five in six innings. Nate Reed (1-0) earned the victory with four scoreless innings of relief.
In the final game before the All-Star Break, Lynchburg (34-36) fell behind 1-0, just as they did in the first three games of the series, when Salem (33-35) scored one in the bottom of the first. Michael Miller hit a one-out single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mario Martinez.
Lynchburg saw seven of its first 12 batters reach by a walk, and the Hillcats scored their first three runs before they recorded a base hit. After receiving two free passes in the first, five Hillcats walked in the second inning against the starter Cody Kukuk. Daniel Carroll, Anthony Nunez, Eric Garcia and Daniel Castro all scored after walking, while David Nick picked up an RBI with his two-out base on balls. Kevin Ahrens completed a four-run second inning with an RBI infield single to give Lynchburg a 4-1 lead.
Salem gained one of the runs back with a solo home run by Aneury Tavarez to lead off the second inning. Tavarez finished the game a triple shy of the cycle on his 3-for-4 day at the plate.
In the top of the third inning, Tyler Tewell hit a one-out single, and Garcia drove him home three batters later with a base hit. Anthony Nunez also singled in the frame and reached base on four out of his five times to the plate Sunday with two walks and a hit by pitch. After Garcia's RBI, the score remained 5-2 until the bottom of the seventh when the Red Sox began their comeback.
Kevin Mager drew a walk with one out in the seventh. Matty Johnson and Michael Miller hit back-to-back singles to drive him in, making it 5-3. Salem continued its momentum in the eighth when Martinez and Tim Roberson started things off with a walk and single, respectively. Tavarez hit an RBI double to score Martinez, and Mager hit a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game at 5-all.
Lynchburg set a season high by drawing 10 walks in the game, but they also established a season high with 14 men left on base. The Hillcats will begin the second half of the season following the three-day All-Star Break. Jose Peraza, Greg Ross and Kyle Wren will represent the Hillcats on the Carolina League All-Star Team in Wilmington on Tuesday.
The Hillcats next game will be Thursday at City Stadium when Lynchburg hosts Potomac in a 7:05pm contest. The gates will open at 6pm for the Theme Thursday honoring the 30th anniversary of the "Karate Kid" movie. The Hillcats On-Deck Show presented by Amtrak Virginia will begin at 6:40pm on 97.9 The Planet.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.