Game 2 Preview – Lynchburg v. Winston-Salem
Mills Cup Championship Series
Lynchburg Hillcats at Winston-Salem Dash
Sunday, September 9 — 2:00 p.m.
Game 2 — Hillcats lead series 1-0
GAME 2 BACKGROUND:
The Dash could not parlay their momentum from consecutive wins to claim the Southern Division Championship Series. Winston-Salem dropped Game 1 of the best-of-five Mills Cup Championship Series to Lynchburg 3-1 Saturday night at BB&T Ballpark. Winston only managed three base runners against Hillcats hurler Michael Lee, who spun six and a third scoreless innings for the victory.
As a result, the Dash will aim to even the series in the final game at BB&T Ballpark this season. Winston boasted the best home regular season record in full-season minor league baseball (48-23), but the Dash are just 2-2 in the Triad in the playoffs.
Winston-Salem — RHP Justin Collop (9-4, 4.17 ERA): In his playoff debut, Collop will face the Hillcats for the fifth time in 2012 today. The righty owns a 5.56 earned run average over 22 and a third innings against Lynchburg. His best outing against the Northern Division champs came July 3 when the former Toledo Rocket turned in six and two-thirds scoreless frames, but the Hillcats roughed up Collop five days later to the tune of eight runs on 12 hits.
Lynchburg — RHP Ryan Weber (2-4, 3.38 ERA): Weber spent much of the regular season in the bullpen, amassing 14 relief appearances and five starts. The former 17th round pick pitched out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the Northern Division Championship Series three days ago. Weber surrendered three runs on six hits over three innings during the Hillcats’ lone loss thus far in the postseason.
- Over the last seven seasons, the team to win Game 1 of the Mills Cup Championship Series has gone on to win the Carolina League crown five times. However, in each of the last two seasons, the winner of the series opener has lost the next three and, thus, the series. Frederick overtook Kinston last year after the K-Tribe won Game 1, while Winston bested Potomac in the opener of the 2010 title set before the P-Nats won three straight.
- Winston-Salem’s bullpen has yet to allow an earned run in the 2012 playoffs. The Dash have tossed 11 and two-thirds of scoreless relief, and every reliever has thrown at least one inning except for Kevin Vance, who boasts the bullpen’s lone win of the playoffs after working two-thirds of an inning Thursday night in Game 2 of the SDCS.
- Dash outfielder Courtney Hawkins has driven in a run in each of the first four playoff games. Hawkins hit a solo shot in the fifth inning Wednesday and the seventh frame Thursday before an RBI fielder’s choice in the SDCS-clinching win Friday. Last night, the White Sox top pick in this year’s draft plated a run with a single. In his nine games with Winston-Salem, the Corpus Christi, Texas, native is 9-for-32 (.281) with three homers, six RBI and six runs scored.
- Since moving into BB&T Ballpark facility prior to the 2010 campaign, Winston is a CL-best 134-77 (.635) inside the gem of the Carolina League. With a win today, the Dash would claim their 51st home win overall, which would surpass the 2010 squad. That team went 50-23 at home in the regular season and playoffs combined.
- For what it’s worth, Winston-Salem is 13-6 on Sundays and 15-12 in day games this season. This will be the final Sunday contest and afternoon affair this season.
- Keep in mind that the Dash and Hillcats have played six extra-inning games this season, which is more than Winston-Salem played against the rest of the circuit combined. Seven of the other 21 games between the division champions have been decided by one or two runs, so these two teams play some great games. This one is more important than all of them.
AN EYE ON THE WHITE SOX FARM:
Outside Winston-Salem, it was a great day for Chicago’s minor league system. Triple-A Charlotte punched its ticket to the International League Finals with a 6-4 win over Indianapolis Saturday night. The Knights will play the Pawtucket Red Sox in Game 1 Tuesday night in Rhode Island. Also, rookie-level Great Falls sneaked past Missoula 5-4 thanks to Adam Heisler’s two-run, walk-off home run to force a deciding Game 3 in the Pioneer League semifinals.
Dash fans can catch the club’s quest for a 12th Mills Cup by tuning in here. Fans are encouraged to tweet @WSDashBaseball and use the Dash’s official playoff hashtag: #Dash12. The Pre-Game Dash begins at 1:40 p.m. and features a chat with manager Tommy Thompson and a look back at the Dash’s thrilling home season.