Lynchburg, Va. - The Lynchburg Hillcats and Carolina Mudcats duked it out in an extra-innings battle on Tuesday, with the Mudcats ultimately winning, 3-2, in 11 innings.
The Hillcats (18-18) got a terrific performance from their pitching staff but couldn't get the runs they needed in the end against Carolina (23-15).
The first nine innings passed without consequence as both pitching staffs were lights-out through the entirety of regulation.
In the bottom of the tenth inning, the runs started to come in bunches. With Eddie Silva starting the frame on second base due to extra innings rules, an intentional walk to Joantgel Segovia and a walk to Devin Hairston loaded the bases with one out. Rob Henry drew a bases loaded walk to plate the first run of the game and give Carolina a 1-0 lead.
In do-or-die mode, the Hillcats entered the bottom of the tenth with Trenton Brooks on second base. Brooks was tossed out trying to take third on a bunt attempt by Jonathan Laureano . Jodd Carter replaced Laureano at first base, and a Wilbis Santiago infield single moved him up to second. With two runners aboard, Mike Rivera drove a ball into center field that Tristen Lutz couldn't come up with. The error allowed Carter to come in to score to tie the game at 1-1.
Payton Henry started out the top of the 11th on second base for the Mudcats. Pat McInerney ripped an RBI double to plate the go-ahead run with one out. A pair of errors in the infield allowed McInerney to come in to score, and the Mudcats went to the bottom half of the inning with a 3-1 lead.
Steven Kwan entered the bottom of the 11th as the man on second base. A Gabriel Mejia infield single put two aboard for Lynchburg. Back-to-back balks by Rodrigo Benoit (Win, 3-0) allowed Kwan to come in to score and put Mejia on third with nobody out, with the Hillcats trailing 3-2. Nolan Jones drew a walk which put runners on the corners. Oscar Gonzalez's line drive was snared by shortstop Devin Hairston for the first out of the inning. Trenton Brooks struck out swinging and Mejia was gunned down trying to take home plate on a double-steal attempt to end the ballgame.
Justin Garza tossed seven scoreless frames while allowing just three hits and no walks with five strikeouts in the game. Dakody Clemmer followed him up with two scoreless innings of his own and Jared Robinson (Loss, 0-2) allowed three unearned runs in two innings, walking four.
Matt Smith spun five shutout innings while allowing five hits and one walk for the Mudcats, striking out two. Christian Taugner fired four hitless innings right after him, and Benoit allowed two runs (one earned) over an inning of work. Clayton Andrews (Save, 4) closed the door with a scoreless 11th inning.
The Hillcats and Mudcats are at it again on Wednesday. Carolina will send right-hander Noah Zavolas (2-2, 2.36) to the mound. The Hillcats have not yet announced their starter. First pitch for the game will come at 6:30 p.m.
Max Gun and Anders Jorstad will be on the air at 6:20 p.m. with the Hillcats pre-game show on TuneIn Radio and the Radio434 App.
Homestand highlights include Aloha Weekend with a postgame fireworks show on Saturday, Kids Eat Free Tuesday, Winning Wednesday, and Thirsty Thursday. Additionally, Hillcats vs. Cancer is on May 17, Pirates vs. Royalty Night is on May 18 and Cats Cares Night is on May 25, where all fans can enter the game for free but are asked to give a donation at the box office of their choice to a pre-selected charity.
For tickets or more information, visit lynchburg-hillcats.com, call 434-528-1144, or visit the City Stadium box office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.