Lynchburg Hillcats Recap: Hillcats win 3-0, Alvarez has 2 RBIs

I just got back from the Hillcats game, which was much better than the Pirates game tonight. The Hillcats won 3-0, thanks to some great pitching, and two RBIs from Pedro Alvarez.

Chi-Hung Cheng, a 23 year old left hander, improved his record to 4-2 on the season, and lowered his ERA to 3.98 with five shutout innings, allowing four hits, striking out four, and walking one. Dustin Molleken came on for three scoreless innings, allowing two hits, striking out two, and walking none. R.J. Rodriguez came on to blow away the last three batters in the ninth, pitching a perfect inning for his ninth save, with one strikeout.

Right fielder Miles Durham hit his fifth homer of the season in the second inning, giving Lynchburg a 1-0 lead. Durham is now hitting .289 on the season to go with those five homers. That’s his third homer in his last ten games. Durham was a 22nd round pick for the Pirates in the 2006 draft.

Pedro Alvarez served as the designated hitter tonight, and went 1 for 4 with a two RBI single down the first base line (video below).

The one downside to Alvarez tonight was the amount of ground balls. All four at bats resulted in ground balls, including one inning ending double play. Even his single was a grounder, which went down the first base line, just out of reach of the first baseman. On the season Alvarez has a 45% ground ball ratio, and just an 8.3% line drive ratio. That probably explains the low average so far.

I was impressed with the pitching, especially Molleken. Molleken is listed as 6’4″, 228 pounds. He’s a right hander, and has some good stuff. On the season he has gone 30.1 innings, with an amazing 34:4 K/BB ratio, one homer allowed, and a 3.56 ERA. He’s 24 years old, and was taken in the 15th round by the Pirates in the 2003 draft. He probably will see Altoona by the end of the season with those numbers.

Here are the pictures I took from the game (some didn’t come out so well because of the lights at night):

The Hillcats dugout…

The delivery by Cheng…

Jose De Los Santos, the Hillcats leadoff hitter, batting .259 with a .331 OBP and 19 SB…

Alvarez at the plate…

Alvarez on first base…

Alvarez on third base, he was left stranded…

Matt Hague at the plate…

Miles Durham at the plate…

Hague at first, De Los Santos at second…

Hillcats win…

The outfield…

Video of Alvarez getting ready for his at-bat…

The RBI single by Alvarez…

Matt Hague single…

Jordy Mercer single…

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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