Chu forces extras, Pantoja wins it in tenth

Hillcats earn first extra-innings victory of season

Hillcats catcher Li-Jen Chu (Lindsay Carico/Lynchburg Hillcats)

By Max Gun / Lynchburg Hillcats | May 12, 2018 12:23 AM ET

Salem, Va. - The Lynchburg Hillcats won their third consecutive game, beating the Salem Red Sox, 6-5, in ten innings on Friday.

The Hillcats (17-17) beat the Red Sox (17-18) on an RBI single from Alexis Pantoja in the tenth inning, that plated Dillon Persinger who started the inning at second base.

Behind 5-3 in the ninth, Lynchburg stormed back to tie the game. Pantoja led off the inning by working a four-pitch walk, and Jodd Carter doubled to put runners at second and third with one out. After Conner Capel popped out to first base, Li-Jen Chu ripped a game-tying, two-run single to even the score at 5-5 and force extras.

Lynchburg opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the first inning. Red Sox starter Darwinzon Hernandez issued three walks with two outs to load the bases. Persinger beat out a ground ball for an infield single to bring home a run, and Emmanuel Tapia worked a bases-loaded walk to give the Hillcats a 2-0 lead.

Salem cut the lead in half to 2-1 in the second inning when Bobby Dalbec hit a solo home run, his seventh of the season.

The Hillcats extended their lead to 3-1 in the third inning, when Tapia grooved an RBI single to right field, scoring Chu who led off the frame with a walk.

The Red Sox got another run back in their half the third. Brett Netzer worked a two-out walk, and C.J. Chatham followed by belting an RBI double off the left field wall, trimming the deficit to 3-2

Salem would tie the game in the fourth inning. Ryan Scott doubled to right field and Nick Sciortino hit an RBI single to center field to knot the score at 3-3.

In the fifth, the Red Sox grabbed their first lead of the game. With one out, Netzer singled to center field, and Chatham followed with another single to put runners on first and second. Jerry Downs then hit a two-run double to the gap in right-center to give Salem a 5-3 advantage. Later in the inning, Ryan Scott singled and Carter threw out Downs at the plate, recording his first of two outfield assists in the game.

Hillcats starter Zach Plesac went 4.2 innings and allowed five earned runs on eight hits, striking out two. Anderson Polanco took over and struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings. Billy Strode also worked 2.1 scoreless frames, and struck out Downs to start the tenth. James Karinchak (Save, 2) came on to get the final two outs, both on strikeouts, to solidify the win.

Hernandez did not make it out of the first inning. He allowed two earned runs on one hit and walked four in 0.2 innings. Jared Oliver provided 4.1 innings of one-run ball in relief and Hunter Smith fired three scoreless innings for Salem. Yankory Pimentel (Loss, 0-1) blew the save by allowing Chu's single in the ninth, and took the loss after giving up the RBI single to Pantoja in the tenth.

The series continues on Saturday with game three of the four-game set. Left-hander Tanner Tully (1-3, 4.73) will start for the Hillcats and right-hander Tanner Houck (1-4, 5.19) will toe the slab for Salem. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Haley Toyota Field.

Max Gun and Matt Present will be on the air at 5:55 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.

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

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

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