Lynchburg, VA - Jake Paulson commanded the strike zone all night long, facing just three over the minimum through six innings, in a 5-0 shutout win for the Hillcats over the Frederick Keys.
Paulson (1-1) was not only effective, but also efficient, tossing just 70 pitches over six innings, giving up just four hits and walking one. He didn't record a strikeout, but he didn't need to, as he rolled ground ball after ground ball, recording 15 of his outs on the ground, to just one through the air.
After stranding the bases loaded against Ofelky Peralta (0-1) in the first inning, the Hillcats got on the board in the third. With one out, Gavin Collins doubled to right-center, and advanced to third on a mishandled relay throw. Anthony Miller followed, hitting a towering fly ball to the warning track in right field, plenty deep to score Collins from third base, giving Lynchburg the 1-0 advantage.
An inning later the Hillcats struck again. Jodd Carter laid down a bunt single to lead off the inning, and Logan Ice followed with a bloop single down the left field line. Alexis Pantoja advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, setting up Mitch Longo , who hit a screaming line drive just inside the third base bag to score Carter and make it 2-0.
Francisco Jimenez took over for Peralta, who exited with a high pitch count after four innings, didn't fare much better.
In the sixth, Luke Wakamatsu and Conner Capel started a two out rally with back-to-back singles. After Capel stole third, Collins bounced one deep in the hole at short stop, and the throw from Chris Clare pulled his first baseman off the bag, scoring Wakamatsu, and putting the Hillcats ahead 3-0.
Lyncburg would put the nail in the coffin in the seventh. Trenton Brooks led off with a single to left, followed by a Carter double to the left field corner. Ice would make it three hits in a row, lining a two strike pitch to right field for two RBI and a 5-0 Hillcat lead.
Micah Miniard relieved Paulson for the final three innings, and picked up right where the Lynchburg starter left off. Miniard retired nine of the ten batter he faced, allowing just a walk, while picking up his first save of the season.
The Hillcats record their third shutout of the season, while tallying a season-high ten hits. Offensively they reached base in every inning, while all nine starters reached base, eight doing so with a hit.
The Hillcats and Keys are back at it Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m., as lefty Alex Wells (0-0, 1.74) gets the start for Frederick, opposed by fellow lefty Sam Hentges (1-0, 0.90) for the Hillcats. It's 2Fur Tuesday at the ballpark with buy-one, get-one tickets and $2 concessions deals.
Max Gun and Matt Present will bring you the action beginning at 6:20 p.m. on the Hillcats Baseball Network, which is accessible through TuneIn Radio, and the Radio434 App.
For tickets and more information visit Lynchburg-hillcats.com, the City Stadium ticket office, or call 434-528-1144.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.