LYNCHBURG,VA- The Lynchburg Hillcats edged Winston-Salem in a Game 3 thriller 1-0 Tuesday night at Lynchburg City Stadium.
For the second straight playoff series, the Dash will have to win back-to-back games in order to win the set.
Winston-Salem dropped the opener of the best-of-three Southern Division Championship before rallying for consecutive wins over Myrtle Beach to clinch a spot in this series.
Dash starter Erik Johnson (0-2) recorded his eighth quality start in 10 High-A efforts, but one blemish doomed him and Winston-Salem. With one out in the fifth, David Rohm doubled underneath Chris Curley's glove at third base. Three batters later, Dan Brewer drove home Rohm with a single to left, giving the Hillcats what proved to be the game's only run.
Johnson tossed six innings and scattered four hits. The former California Golden Bear struck out six and walked two in his final 2012 outing. Behind Johnson, Terance Marin blanked the Hillcats over two innings.
However, the Dash could not muster any runs against the Carolina League's Pitcher of the Year, Lynchburg righty Gus Schlosser (2-0). He twirled seven scoreless innings, whiffed seven and surrendered only four hits.
Out of the bullpen, Ryne Harper struck out two before walking Curley in the eighth inning. The Hillcats then turned to closer Juan Jaime, who escaped the eighth before stranding a runner at second base in the ninth. Jaime, who was a perfect 18-for-18 in save opportunities during the regular season, earned his third save in as many tries during the postseason.
Winston-Salem's offense banged out only five hits and managed seven base runners. The Dash did not get a runner to third base during Game 3. Throughout the postseason, the Dash have only scored in 10 of their 51 offensive innings after leading the CL in many offensive categories during the regular season.
The Dash will play with history against them Wednesday night. In the last four Mills Cup Championship Series that were tied at one game apiece, the winner of Game 3 has gone on to take the series in four games every time. Winston is trying to force the first winner-take-all Game 5 in the Mills Cup Finals since 2005.