Zebulon, NC- The Hillcats scored four runs in both the second and third innings tonight taking an early 8-1 advantage and led the rest of the way en route to an 11-8 win over the Carolina Mudcats. Things got interesting in the ninth, as the Mudcats (18-16) scored four runs, but with the tying run at the plate Ronan Pacheco got the final out for Lynchburg, and the Hillcats (16-19) won the series opener.
Carolina scored the game's first run. Anthony Gallas, reigning Carolina League Player of the Week, singled home a run in the first inning. The Hillcats answered by batting all nine batters in both the second and third innings. Eric Garcia highlighted the second inning rally with a two-run double. Lynchburg added five more hits in the third including another two-run double, but this time it was Daniel Castro.
Hillcats starter Lucas Sims was the beneficiary of the run support for the Hillcats. He allowed a two-run home run to Torsten Boss in the fourth inning, and a solo shot to Logan Vick in the fifth inning. The Mudcats still trailed 10-4 upon Sims' (3-3) exit after five frames. He allowed four runs on six hits, walked one and struck out three, while earning the win.
The two home runs Sims allowed make six on the season for the right-hander, second-most in the Carolina League.
Alex Wilson was lights out in relief for Lynchburg throwing three scoreless innings from the sixth through the eighth. Meanwhile, David Nick added a solo home un in th seventh extending the Hillcats lead back to seven runs (11-4).
Ronan Pacheco took the mound in the ninth and the Mudcats mounted a comeback. They batted all nine in the order, tallying four hits, while drawing two walks, and scored four runs. With Zach Jadofsky warming in the bullpen, Pacheco stuck it out and finished the game inducing a groundout to second base form James Roberts.
The Hillcats have now won three in a row, matching their season-best winning streak.
Game two between the Hillcats and Mudcats is set for 11:00am Tuesday morning. Right-hander Lay Batista (1-0, 1.00) will start for Lynchburg against lefty Shawn Morimando (3-2, 4.01) for Carolina.