The Lynchburg Hillcats have charged back into the top spot in the Carolina League’s Northern Division as the Potomac Nationals have fallen apart.
The Hillcats wrapped up play on Sunday with a 33-24 record in the second half of the season and are tied with the P-Nats, who had dropped seven straight games and nine of their last ten before winning Sunday. The Hillcats have already secured a trip to the postseason with their first half divisional crown, but are going for the clean sweep. The club went 4-3 over the last seven days, with a pair of rainouts last Monday and Wednesday while the club visited Frederick. They played a pair of doubleheaders with the Keys instead, splitting both days, before taking the first two games over the weekend from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. The Pelicans won on Sunday, scoring two in the ninth to tie it and one more in the tenth to walk off.
In other Hillcats chatter:
SANTANDER’S STRONG SEASON CONTINUES
Outfielder Anthony Santander’s strong season has marched on with a five-game hitting streak last week that came to an end on Saturday with an 0-for-4 at the plate against the Pelicans.
Santander homered in game one of the doubleheader with the Keys on Tuesday, then homered again on Thursday in the second game of that day’s doubleheader in Frederick. He now has 19 homers and 89 RBI on the season through 116 games in a breakout campaign for the 21-year-old switch-hitter.
FRANK’S SCORELESS STREAK ENDS
With a scoreless inning of relief on Saturday, right-handed reliever Trevor Frank pushed his scoreless outing streak to ten straight appearances, a span of ten innings. He has saved eight games in eight chances in that stretch and has converted every save opportunity this season since blowing a save in his very first appearance of the season on April 7 against Winston-Salem. During his nearly month-long dominance on the mound, he struck out 16 batters and walked two, giving up just six hits in those ten games dating back to July 27.
That streak came to an end on Sunday night, when he was charged with two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning in the loss to Myrtle Beach. He allowed a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to Ian Rice to tie the game, one later lost in extras.
Frank is 1-1 on the season with a 2.72 ERA and 1.01 WHIP through 40 appearances.
BRADLEY CONTINUES TO DRIVE IN RUNS
First baseman Bobby Bradley added another home run and six more RBI to his season tally over the course of the week.
Bradley has amassed 26 homers and 97 RBI on the season. The RBI total is a new professional high, surpassing the 92 he had with Lake County last season. His home run total is just one short of matching his 27 from last season. His seven home runs so far in August are the most he has hit in any one calendar month this year.
PAULINO DOUBLES HIS HOMER OUTPUT
Outfielder Dorssys Paulino doubled his homer total for the season over the course of the last seven days, hitting a solo homer in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader with Frederick before hitting another homer and driving in a pair on Saturday in the win over Myrtle Beach.
Paulino, who did not play on Sunday, is hitting .268 on the season with four homers and 26 RBI through 52 games.
KRIEGER’S EIGHT-GAME HITTING STREAK
Infielder Tyler Krieger pushed his hitting streak to eight straight games with a pair of singles on Sunday.
Krieger tripled in back-to-back games for the Hillcats on Friday and Saturday and is hitting .500 (15-for-30) with three doubles, two triples, and six RBI over the course of the hitting streak.
Krieger has been on-base even more frequently than his hitting streak implies. He has reached base in 19 straight games dating back to August 2 and has been kept off base in just one game in the month of August. Over the course of his on-base streak, he is hitting .382, going 26-for-68 with eleven walks.
ESPARZA’S QUALITY OUTING
Right-hander Matt Esparza earned a second consecutive win and improved to 2-2 with the Hillcats with a win on Saturday over the Pelicans.
Esparza worked six innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He walked a pair and struck out five as the Hillcats held on for a 5-4 win. After a tough first inning, he eventually settled in, retiring seven straight beginning with the final out in the third inning.
Photo: Lindsay Carico/MiLB.com