Lynchburg - The Hillcats may have lost the Carolina League's leading hitter Jose Peraza to Double-A, but the good news Emerson Landoni returned to Lynchburg and picked up where Peraza left off.
Back-to-back four-run innings quickly turned a one-run deficit into a seven-run victory, as the Hillcats used eight two-out RBIs to defeat the Potomac Nationals, 10-3, at Calvin Falwell Field Thursday night.
Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the seventh, Kyle Wren reached on a one-out error to spark the rally. Daniel Castro and David Nick recorded consecutive hits with Nick’s single driving home Wren to tie the game, 3-3. Kevin Ahrens walked to load the bases. With two outs in the frame, Emerson Landoni smashed a bases-clearing double into the left-center field gap to give the Hillcats (35-36) a 6-3 advantage.
Lynchburg continued to pour it on Potomac (38-32) in the eighth. Edison Sanchez was hit by a pitch with one out, and Wren doubled to center field for an RBI. After a rare Daniel Castro strikeout, Nick walked. Ahrens came through with two outs in the inning, hitting a double to center field to score Wren and Nick. Levi Hyams followed with an RBI single to increase Lynchburg’s lead to 10-3.
Ahrens finished the game 2-for-3 with two walks to reach base four times. He scored twice and produced four two-out RBIs to give him a team-leading 36 runs batted in for the season. In his 2014 Hillcats debut, Landoni went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. Castro also had a three-hit day with two runs scored.
Ronan Pacheco earned the win with two innings of scoreless relief while striking out two. Alex Wilson improved to a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities by striking out five and only allowing one hit in the eighth and ninth innings. Same teams play Friday night at 7:05 in game two of the three-game series.