Morris pitches Cats past Salem
The combination of a superb start from Bryan Morris, timely hitting and a few key defensive plays propelled Lynchburg to a 6-5 victory over Salem at Salem Memorial Ballpark. The Hillcats evened the three-game series with their 460 rivals and will go for the series victory in the rubber match at 7:05 p.m. Thursday.
Salem (23-27, 55-64) took advantage of two Lynchburg errors and scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first to grab the early lead. After Morris retired David Mailman, Aaron Reza reached on a fielding error by Cats shortstop Jordy Mercer. Reza took second when Mercer committed another error on a ground ball off the bat of Tim Federowicz. Brad Correll followed with an RBI single that scored Reza and gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
Lynchburg (21-30, 66-54) immediately answered with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Kris Watts ripped a two-out double down the right field line and scored on Jared Keel's RBI single. Keel advanced to third on Eric Fryer's single and Alex Presley followed with an RBI single that put the Cats in front 2-1.
With Lynchburg leading 2-1 after four innings, Salem starter Dave McKae was lifted for Jose Capellan. The Cats took full advantage of the situation as Mercer hit a leadoff double in the top of the fifth. Jamie Romak drove in Mercer with an RBI single to extend the Cats' advantage to 3-1.
The Cats scored three more runs off Capellan in the top of the sixth. With runners at the corners and one out, Josh Harrison smacked a two-run double. Harrison scored on the play when Reza committed a throwing error, which gave Lynchburg a 6-1 edge.
While Lynchburg's offense took advantage of scoring opportunities, Morris frustrated Salem batters throughout the night. Morris limited the Red Sox to three hits and one unearned run in six innings of work.
Salem's offense finally came alive in the bottom of the eighth. Mailman led off the inning with an infield single off Cats reliever Harrison Bishop and advanced to second on a throwing error by Harrison. After Reza reached on an infield single, Alex Presley made a spectacular running catch on a fly ball that Federowicz drove to deep center field. Brad Correll drove in Mailman with an RBI double.
Anthony Rizzo followed with a two-run single and Rizzo advanced to third on Chih-Hsien Chiang's double. Rizzo scored on a sacrifice fly by Jon Hee that reduced Lynchburg's lead to 6-5.
Cats closer R. J. Rodriguez entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and issued a leadoff walk to Zach Borowiak. Mailman advanced Borowiak to second on a sacrifice bunt and Borowiak took third on a wild pitch, forcing the Cats to begin the infield in. Mike Jones hit a ground ball to second that Chase d'Arnaud fielded on a diving stop. d'Arnaud threw out Jones after looking Borowiak back to third and Rodriguez struck out Federowicz to preserve the 6-5 win.
Morris (4-6) earned the win for Lynchburg and McKae (2-6) was charged with the loss. Rodriguez earned his Carolina League-leading 26th save, which gives him sole possession of second place on Lynchburg's single-season saves list. Chicago White Sox reliever D. J. Carrasco holds the Cats single-season saves record with 29 saves in 2002.
Lynchburg will attempt to win the series with a victory in the rubber match at Salem Memorial Ballpark Thursday night. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. Lynchburg will send RHP Nate Adcock (2-0, 4.00 ERA) to the mound while Salem is expected to counter with RHP Eammon Portice (6-6, 4.58 ERA)
Tune in to FM 105.5 KD Country, 96.9 FM Roanoke or online at www.kdcountry.com or www.lynchburg-hillcats.com for all the live action beginning at 6:40 p.m. Thursday.
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