Big innings rocket Hillcats to victory

Back-to-back homers rev up offense

Hillcats outfielder Jodd Carter (Lindsay Carico/Lynchburg Hillcats)

By Emily Messina / Lynchburg Hillcats | August 10, 2019 10:22 PM

Woodbridge, Va. - The Lynchburg Hillcats struck early and often to win the second game of the series 14-4 against the Potomac Nationals on Saturday night.

Lynchburg's (23-24, 55-59) offense came alive to defeat Potomac (27-22, 57-59) and the team now sits 3.5 games out of a playoff spot in the CL North.

The Hillcats started hot in the second inning with a Will Benson two-run shot followed by another home run off the bat of Jonathan Laureano . One-run singles by Tyler Freeman  and Mitch Reeves  plated Dillon Persinger and Steven Kwan  respectively to make the score 5-0.

Potomac went after the Hillcats in the bottom half of the first. Gilbert Lara's two-run single made the game 5-2 early on.

The P-Nats kept chipping away in the bottom of the third. A double by Aldrem Corredor scored Cole Freeman. Alex Dunlap followed it up with a single of his own, plating KJ Harrison to counter the Hillcats lead.

Jodd Carter and Kwan both singled to lead off the fourth. Another RBI single by Freeman drove them in to add to the Hillcats lead.

Lynchburg struck again in the fifth when a single from Laureano plated Benson. A double off the bat of Carter allowed Laureano to score and increased the lead to 9-4. Carter was then able to score on an error by Kyle Marinconz, which allowed Persinger to reach safely. Another P-Nats error put Kwan on the bases and a single from Freeman loaded them up. The Hillcats were finally retired when Gavin Collins  grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The 'Cats added to their totals in the top of the ninth after a sacrifice fly by Reeves scored Kwan. Benson knocked the Hillcats 23rd hit, a Carolina League record this season, scoring Freeman. With the bases loaded, Mike Rivera  was hit by a pitch which allowed Collins to cross the plate. That was the Hillcats' 14th run of the night, which tied their season high.

Hillcats starter Cody Morris threw 89 pitches in the no-decision. He allowed four earned runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. Reliever Felix Tati  (Win, 3-1) notched the final out of the fifth and rendered the P-Nats scoreless in both the sixth and seventh. Manuel Alvarez  came out in relief for the eighth and struck out the side. Lynchburg brought in Jonathan Teaney  for the ninth inning, who took down the Nationals 1-2-3.

Malvin Pena (Loss, 5-8) struggled early, giving up seven earned runs on ten hits. Luis Reyes came in for relief but allowed another four runs to the 'Cats, only two of them earned. The Nationals then turned to Angel Guillen who pitched two scoreless innings in relief before giving up three hits, hitting two batters, and allowing three runs in the ninth.

The Hillcats play the final game of the series against the P-Nats tomorrow with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Lynchburg will send right-hander Brock Hartson (0-1, 3.78) to the mound to face lefty Carson Teel (6-2, 3.81). 

Anders Jorstad and Emily Messina will be on the air at 12:55 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App. 

The Hillcats will return to City Stadium on August 16 when the Carolina Mudcats, A-Adv. affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers come to town for a three-game set. Weekend highlights include First Responders Night on Saturday with post-game fireworks sponsored by Hill City Pharmacy. Friday's contest will also feature a post-game fireworks show presented by Pepsi. Sunday's game will be a Sandlot Sunday where all kids in attendance will be able to run the bases after the conclusion of the game.

For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.

The Lynchburg Hillcats are the Advanced-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The Hillcats are eight-time Carolina League Champions, having most recently won the Mills Cup Championship in 2017. The Hillcats play their home games at City Stadium, which has been home to Minor League Baseball in Lynchburg since 1963. Visit the Hillcats online at Lynchburg-hillcats.com, and follow the Hillcats on Twitter (@LynHillcats), Instagram (@LynHillcats) and Facebook (Lynchburg Hillcats). For more information about the Lynchburg Hillcats, please contact Max Gun at mgun@lynchburg-hillcats.com.  

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

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