Eighth Inning Frustrations Continue as Lynchburg Earns Another Comeback Win
Lynchburg, VA - Building a lead has not been a problem for the Charleston RiverDogs in Lynchburg this week. Holding on to it has. For the second straight night, the Lynchburg Hillcats took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, this time resulting in a 5-3 victory on Thursday night at Bank of the James Stadium. Dayan Frias hit a game-winning three-run home run off of Sandy Gaston to break a 2-2 tie.
The RiverDogs (8-9, 54-29) built a 2-0 lead early in the game, but missed opportunities to do much more damage. In the second inning, they placed runners on second and third with no outs, but settled for one run on Logan Allen’s sacrifice fly to center field. Julio Meza doubled the lead with an RBI single in the fourth inning, but the RiverDogs had the bases loaded with one out later in the same frame. Angel Galarraga bounced into an inning-ending double play to end that threat.
JJ Goss set a new career-high in strikeouts for a second straight outing, this time fanning nine Hillcats (6-11, 42-42) in 5.0 innings. He allowed his only run of the night in the fifth when Luis Durango tripled and scored on a Jake Fox groundball. Goss allowed just three hits.
Juan Rivera took over in the sixth inning and walked the first three batters of the frame to load the bases. The game was tied on Frias’ double play groundout to short. Rivera ended the inning without further damage by inducing another groundball from Victor Planchart.
After working a scoreless seventh inning, Sandy Gaston came back for the eighth with the score still tied. The right-hander walked the first two batters of the frame and then allowed the home run to Frias to make it 5-2 in favor of the home team. The runs allowed by Gaston were the first earned runs he had allowed in over 18.0 innings.
The RiverDogs would make things interesting in the ninth. Julio Meza walked to open the frame and was replaced at first when Allen grounded into a fielder’s choice. With two outs, Jelfry Marte worked a walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Nick Schnell extended the game with a hustle RBI double to left center that made the score 5-3 and put the tying run at second. Carson Williams swung at the first pitch and lined out to the leaping shortstop, Frias, to end the game.
The RiverDogs outhit the Hillcats 7-5 in defeat. Williams went 2-5 as the lone man in the lineup with multiple hits. Jorge Burgos led the Hillcats with a 2-4 showing. The decisive home run by Frias was just his second round-tripper of the season.
Charleston will aim to bounce back from two tough losses on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. RHP Ben Peoples (3-3, 3.42) will start on the mound for the RiverDogs. LHP Ryan Webb (0-0, 5.40) will work opposite Peoples for the Hillcats.
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