Lynchburg, VA- The Hillcats were on the right side of the scores today sweeping the Keys by a score of 3-2 and 4-1. Game one was highlighted by three first inning runs for the 'Cats despite only two hits--the only two hits for the entire game by the offense--and Aaron Baker stealing a base and walking off it thinking it was a foul ball to end the game. In game two, the offense clicked for four runs and 12 hits, but Lynchburg starter, Aaron Northcraft, was dominate in his first career complete game. He retired 20 of the last 22 batters he faced.
The Keys jumped on the Hillcats early for the third straight game. It was Cody Martin on the hill who had the rough start for the 'Cats. A double and single by the Keys started things off, but Aaron Baker was the only person to register an RBI.
Lynchburg stormed back in the bottom of the first thanks to some help from starter Scott Copeland. Three walks and a hit batter highlighted the three-run inning for the Hillcats.
The 'Cats offense was stifled the rest of the game with their sole hits coming in the first.
Frederick would threaten in the top of the second inning. They put the first two runners on by walk and double. Michael Rooney then grounded a ball to Chris Garcia at first. Garcia touched first and Garabez Rosa, who was at second, broke for third, Garcia realized he was too far off the bag and fired the ball to the shortstop Nick Ahmed. Rosa was now in a pickle and the man on third, Michael Mosby, broke for home. Ahmed realized this and threw it catcher Braeden Schlehuber at home. Schlehuber chased down Mosby and tagged him out before he got back to third. Meanwhile Rosa never advanced to third. Bobby Stevens would end the inning swinging just one batter later.
It wouldn't be until the seventh that the Keys put a run on the board.Closer Juan Jamie was in for the 'Cats when he gave up a double and two single to start the inning. A wild pitch with Baker at the plate would score Stevens to cut the lead to 3-2. Baker then singled to put Ty Kelly at third. After a Justin Dalles strike out, Scott Thomas was up. Baker decided to break for second and he slid in safely, but because Thomas made contact and it went back into Schlehuber's glove, Baker thought it was a foul ball. Baker decided to walk back to second, Ahmed called for Jamie's attention and they successfully chased down Baker to end the game.
New Hillcat, Ryan Harper (1-0), get a win in his first appearance. He came on in relief for Cody Martin and went 3.0 innings, scattered five hits and fanned three. Scott Copeland (3-5) was a victim of his own control problems in the loss. His five walks low lighted the 6.0 strong innings. Copeland allowed three runs on just two hits, while sitting down two. Juan Jamie earned his 11th save of the season.
Frederick would score in the top of the first for the fourth game in a row in game two of the doubleheader. A Jeremy Nowak single and two Arron Northcraft walks loaded the bases with one out. Then, Michael Flacco hit a fly ball to right field that scored Nowak to give the Keys a 1-0 lead.
Lynchburg answered back in the bottom half of the frame with a run of their own of Tyler Wilson. Mycal Jones started with a rip down the right field line, but an excellent relay throw from Nowak to Ty Kelly to Michael Mosby to get Jones by a hair. Nick Ahmed added a double of his own and eventually scored on a single off Adam Milligan's bat.
It was a quiet couple innings before the 'Cats offense woke up in the bottom of the third. The inning started off with Emerson Landoni putting all of his weight into a swing and connecting for his first homer of the season to break the tie. Wilson struck out the next two batters but followed that by giving up a single to Edward Salcedo and a double to Adam Milligan that scored Salcedo. Chris Garcia walked then Braeden Schlehuber ripped a single past a diving Mosby at third. Milligan scored and the lead moved to 4-1.
Neither offense would score after that, but the true story is Northcraft's performance. After the struggles in the first he was dominate. He retired 20 of the last 22 batters he faced and induced 12 ground outs, two air outs and sat down six.
Aaron Northcraft got the win (5-4) in his first career complete game. He went 7.0 inning--a career-high--allowed just three hits that lead to one run. Northcraft struck out six and walked two. Tyler Wilson (2-2) got the loss in his 3.1 innings of work. He surrendered four runs on eight hits to go along with five whiffs and walk.