Hillcats hammer hat trick of homers to handle Pelicans

pel-conwayFor the second consecutive game, home runs sank the Myrtle Beach Pelicans as the Lynchburg Hillcats powered their way to a 7-3 win at Calvin Falwell Field on Thursday night. Lynchburg hit a season-high five homers in their win on Wednesday before launching three more in the first four innings on Thursday.

The Hillcats (46-52, 13-15 second half) tallied first thanks to third baseman Paul Hendrix, who hit his fifth home run of the year over the left field wall to give Lynchburg  a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

In response, the Pelicans (56-41, 15-13 second half) loaded the bases in the top of the third inning and forced in the tying run by way of a walk to Mark Zagunis. The next batter, Cael Brockmeyer, gave the Birds a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly out in foul territory. It was the Birds’ first lead in the series.

However Lynchburg used the home run ball again in the fourth inning to reclaim the lead. A walk and a hit batsman brought Dorssys Paulino to the plate where the 20-year-old left fielder launched his second home run of the year – and his second in as many games – over the left field wall for a 4-2 Hillcats advantage. The next pitch to catcher Eric Haase also left the ballpark, sailing over the left-field wall and extending Lynchburg’s lead to 5-2.

Paulino continued to pace the Hillcats’ offense with a two-run double in the fifth inning. Pitching with a 7-2 deficit, Pelicans starter Daury Torrez (7-6) ended the inning with a strikeout, but his night was finished after that. The right-hander took the loss after surrendering a total of seven runs, all earned, on eight hits. He struck out five and walked only one batter.

Right-hander Josh Conway relieved Torrez in the sixth inning and walked the bases loaded, but he struck out Nellie Rodriguez, the league-leader in home runs, to end the frame. Conway, the former standout at Coastal Carolina University, struck out five batters in his two innings on the mound.

In the seventh, Jordan Hankins led off with a single to right field, and two batters later, Chesny Young plunked a double down the right-field line to move Hankins to third base. Kevin Brown then capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center field that cut the Hillcats’ lead to 7-3.

Lynchburg starter Luis Lugo (6-9) was the winner on the mound, allowing a pair of earned runs on four base hits across his 5 2/3 innings of work.

Young, who broke the Carolina League consecutive on-base record last Sunday, extended that streak to 42 games with his third-inning single to center field on Thursday. That hit also stretched his current hit-streak to 12 games, and with a bunt single in the fifth, he collected his 29th multi-hit game with the Pelicans this season. The hit streak is tied for the longest by a Pelicans hitter this year and is the longest of Young’s career. It’s also longest active hit-streak in the Carolina League. Zagunis also had a 12-game hit-streak from May 8‒22.

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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