Salters Slugs a Pair, Bradley’s Singles Streak, and More in Hillcats Chatter
Bob Toth | On 26, Jun 2016
The Lynchburg Hillcats lost a 12-6 final last Sunday to close out the first half of the Carolina League season as teams entered the All-Star break. But there was no time to rest for six Hillcats, who represented and contributed in a Carolina League win over the California League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game from Lake Elsinore, California.
Carolina League play resumed on Thursday for most teams in the league, but not the Hillcats, as storms once again washed away game one of what was originally scheduled to be a four-game series in Lynchburg against the Potomac Nationals. The first game of the second half went the way of the Nationals on Friday, as the Hillcats lost a 6-4 final. It took a 12th inning home run for Potomac to claim Saturday’s 3-2 final.
The Hillcats have now dropped four straight games for just the second time this season after losing the final two of the first half and the first two of the second half. Lynchburg will close out the series with Potomac on Sunday in a 2:00 PM start before heading on the road to close out the month. They will play three in Wilmington and four against the Carolina Mudcats before returning home on the Fourth of July for a six-game homestand.
In other Hillcats chatter:
Lynchburg’s offense led the league in a handful of key stats to close out the first half of the season. They were the Carolina League leaders in runs (385), home runs (62), RBI (343), and total bases (949).
The Hillcats’ 45 wins were the most by the club since 2009, when the team also won 45 games. They finished the first half with a 26-11 record at home, tops in the league.
SALTERS SLUGGING AWAY
Coming off of his single in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, catcher Daniel Salters has brought a big bat with him to the plate to start the second half.
In the second half opener from Calvin Falwell Field on Friday, Salters hit a pair of solo homers, his third and fourth of the season, in the Hillcats’ 6-4 loss to the Nationals. The first, in the second inning, tied the score at one. His second cleared the wall in right and gave Lynchburg a 4-1 lead, but a four-run seventh inning by Potomac swung the game in their favor.
BRADLEY SINGLES IN SIX STRAIGHT GAMES
First baseman and slugger Bobby Bradley closed out the first half with singles in each of his final four games. He spent the All-Star break in California, participating in the Home Run Derby on an air craft carrier before starting in the All-Star Game.
Upon his return to regular action with the Hillcats on Friday, he has added singles in each of the club’s first two games back, extending his hitting streak to six straight games, all with solo singles. He is hitting .241 on the season with a .353 on-base percentage.
MERRYWEATHER EARNS ALL-STAR WIN
It has been a good week for starting pitcher Julian Merryweather. Really, it has been a great half-season for the 24-year-old right-hander.
Merryweather was the starting pitcher for the Carolina League in Tuesday’s All-Star Game and took home the win after throwing a perfect first inning and notching a strikeout. There has even been some speculation that he will be promoted in the coming days to the Double-A roster of the Akron RubberDucks and, given his strong start to the year, such a move would not be a surprise. (editor’s note: Merryweather has since promoted to Lynchburg, less than an hour before the scheduled post time of this story)
The third-year pro, who spent 2014 with Mahoning Valley and 2015 with Lake County, is 8-2 with a 1.03 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in eleven starts this season.
CHANG’S STREAK HITS FIVE STRAIGHT
All-Star shortstop and Home Run Derby participant Yu-Cheng Chang has hit in five straight games for the Hillcats, including each of their first two contests in the second half.
The 20-year-old out of Taiwan is hitting .276 on the season and .308 over his last ten games, with hits in nine of those starts. He is just one home run short of matching his career high of nine, set last season in his first full year in the farm system after spending 42 games of 2014 in the Arizona League.
Right-handed pitcher Justin Garcia was activated from the seven-day disabled list on Thursday.
In his first season at the Advanced-A level, Garcia had appeared in eleven games in relief, earning a win while posting a 3.32 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. He had struck out 19 batters in 19 innings, but allowed 18 hits and eight walks in that span. He landed on the DL on May 25.
Photo: Lathan Goumas/The News and Advance