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Mudcats sweep Keys, beat Hillcats for 4th straight win

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ZEBULON — A day after completing their fourth Advanced-A Carolina League sweep of the 2019 season, the Carolina Mudcats went to work on another one Sunday with a 12-5 romp over the visiting Lynchburg Hillcats at Five County Stadium.

The Mudcats, who finished the three-game home set against the Frederick Keys with an 8-3 victory Saturday night, improved to 49-38 overall and 10-8 in the second half with Sunday’s victory, their fourth straight. The Hillcats dipped to 43-42 and 11-7.

Shortstop Devin Hairston collected two of Carolina’s 12 hits Sunday and drove in a pair of runs while Zach Clark’s bases-emptying double was the big blow in the Mudcats’ four-run outburst in the bottom of the first inning. 

The Hillcats tied the score 5-5 with three runs in the top of the third, including Oscar Gonzalez’s two-run home run off Carolina starting pitcher Nelson Hernandez. But that would be all the scoring for Lynchburg as Hernandez (9-6) pitched two more scoreless innings while relievers Cody Beckman and J.T. Hintzen hung zeroes in their two-inning stints each.

The Mudcats and Hillcats will play the second game of the three-game series Monday at 7 p.m.

In Saturday’s victory against Frederick, first baseman Ryan Aguilar doubled twice and drove in three runs in two at-bats to lead Carolina’s 13-hit onslaught. Center fielder Tristen Lutz and catcher Mario Feliciano each went 2 for 5 with two RBIs while Hairston was 3 for 4.

Starting left-handed pitcher Aaron Ashby evened his record at 2-2 with a seven-inning performance, giving up two runs, both earned, on five hits and four walks while striking out three.