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Mudcats fall to Hillcats in Extras, 5-4

Posted August 30

— The Lynchburg Hillcats held off three rallies from the Carolina Mudcats to snare a 5-4 win in 10 innings on Friday night at Five County Stadium. The loss could potentially be devastating for the Mudcats (32-34, 61-72) as they remain one game behind Salem for the wildcard with three days left. The Hillcats (33-33, 67-69) take a hard fought series 3-1.

Grant Sides (4-2) allowed the deciding run in the 10th on three hits. Emerson Landoni opened the frame with a single to center and Will Skinner collected his second RBI of the night with a two-out hit to left. Nate Hyatt (5-3) was the beneficiary of the run, picking up the win after he dealt two scoreless innings. Alex Wilson recorded the final two outs for his 16th save.

The Mudcats rallied to tie the score on three different occasions, but could never grab the lead. Starter Ryan Merritt allowed three runs, one earned, while working around eight hits across six innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

Lynchburg capitalized on an early error to take a 2-0 lead. Blake Brown and Landoni opened the game with consecutive hits. Sean Godfrey rolled a routine grounder to second, but James Roberts misplayed the ball. Brown scored from second as the roller trickled into center and Landoni advanced to third. Merritt rebounded to strikeout the next two hitters before surrendering a single to Skinner that scored Landoni.

Roberts made up for his mistake by belting a long fly out to left for his fourth home run of the year to put the Mudcats on the board in the third.

Carolina used a miscue by the Hillcats to tie the game in the fourth. Joe Sever worked a one-out walk and hustled to third on a double by Eric Haase. Sever was caught in a rundown between third and home on the play, but scored when Eric Garcia missed a catch at third.

Godfrey put the Hillcats back up 3-2 in the fifth on a single, but consecutive doubles by Logan Vick and Yhoxian Medina in the bottom the inning squared the score at three.

Lynchburg went back ahead with a run off reliever Josh Martin in the seventh. Godfrey, again, came up with the clutch, two-out hit to plate Brown for a 4-3 lead. Once more, the Mudcats rallied in the last of the inning. The team worked three straight walks to load the bases and Torsten Boss drove a sac-fly to deep left that scored Vick.

The teams played to a 4-4 stalemate into the 10th before Skinner’s decisive hit. The Mudcats appeared like they might tie it again when Sever launched a double to center with one out. However, Wilson induced a pair of grounders to seal the victory for Lynchburg.

The Mudcats open their final regular season series at Five County Stadium on Saturday, August 30, with the first of three against the Winston-Salem Dash. Saturday’s game will feature fireworks following the game. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and the gates open at 5 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets or find more information by calling (919) 269-2287 or by visiting carolinamudcats.com.

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