Merryweather Wins Eighth, Santander Slugging Away, and Polanco Impresses in Hillcats Chatter

The Lynchburg Hillcats (45-24) will close out their dominant first half of the Carolina League season on Sunday as they wrap up their road series against the second place Frederick Keys.

They dropped just their second game of the season to the Keys on Saturday night, losing 4-3 to fall to 9-2 this season against Frederick. It has been a close and hard-fought series to wrap up the first half, as each of the first three games of the four-game set have been decided by one run. The Hillcats took a pair from the Keys on Friday, sweeping the day’s doubleheader with 2-1 and 3-2 wins from Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium. The Hillcats are now 7-1 in twinbills this season and 20-6 playing within the Carolina League Northern Division.

Mitch Brown (2-4, 4.25 ERA) will start the final game of the first half for the Hillcats in a 2 PM start from Frederick.

In other Hillcats chatter:


The Hillcats were victorious in their final home game before the All-Star break on Wednesday with a 4-2 win over the Carolina Mudcats in a game delayed briefly by rain.

The win improved the club to a 26-11 record at City Stadium in Lynchburg this season.


Lynchburg has homered in 40 of their 69 games this season. They are 27-13 in those games.


In game one of Friday’s doubleheader, another strong start from All-Star Julian Merryweather paced the Hillcats to a 2-1 win. He allowed just one run on five hits over six innings of work while striking out seven. His eight wins are made all the more impressive when noting that he has made just eleven starts this season after a brief stint on the seven-day disabled list.

For the year, he is 8-2 with a 1.03 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in those eleven starts with 58 strikeouts and 15 walks in 61 innings.


Left-hander Anderson Polanco returned to the Hillcats on June 10 and jumped back into the rotation after making six appearances at the Double-A level with the Akron RubberDucks. He worked in Wednesday’s home victory and allowed one run on four hits over six innings. He struck out four and walked two in earning his third win of the season while lowering his ERA at High-A to 1.88 in seven games.

In six games (five starts) for Akron, the 23-year-old was 1-5 with a 8.06 ERA and 1.93 WHIP.


Switch-hitter Anthony Santander hit one of the Hillcats’ two home runs in their loss on Saturday. He homered the night before in the second game of the doubleheader, delivering a two-run shot in the third inning to give Lynchburg a 3-0 lead over Frederick in a game that would be decided by a 3-2 score. He also homered on Tuesday, giving him now three homers in his last six games.

He has eight home runs this season, but just one from the right side of the plate.


In the win over the Mudcats on Wednesday, Mark Mathias reached base safely in all four plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a single, double, a stolen base, one run scored, a walk, and one hit by pitch.

In the second game of their doubleheader on Tuesday against Carolina, the second baseman was also 2-for-2, with two singles, two walks, two runs scored, two runs batted in, and two stolen bases.


Right-handed pitcher Antonio Romero was given his release on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Cuban reliever was in his second season in the Indians organization and had spent the bulk of his time with the Lynchburg club. He made 27 appearances (three starts) for the Hillcats last season, going 1-1 with a 2.47 ERA. He also appeared once for the Columbus Clippers. This season, he was 2-0 with the Akron RubberDucks, but had a 7.59 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, and .292 batting average against in 12 relief appearances. With the Hillcats, he was 1-1 with a 9.98 ERA, 2.22 WHIP, and .313 batting average against in seven appearances (one start).


Right-hander Nick Pasquale was promoted on Saturday to Akron, filling the roster spot vacated by Adam Plutko, who spent time last season in the Hillcats’ rotation. The 25-year-old Pasquale was strong in his first appearance for the RubberDucks on Saturday, allowing one run on four hits in five and one-third innings against New Hampshire while earning his first win. He struck out five and walked three in the contest. He was 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in eight games (five starts) for Lynchburg in his third different season at the High-A level.

The Hillcats roster has just 24 players on it heading into action on Sunday, with two players (pitcher Justin Garcia; outfielder Dorssys Paulino) on the disabled list.

Photo: Lathan Goumas/The News and Advance

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