Bullpen helps Suns escape with victory
After a game between the Hickory Crawdads and Hagerstown Suns on Monday that featured a combined 33 hits and 27 runs, things cooled down just a bit Tuesday.
Both teams had five hits each through five innings, but their two strong bullpens allowed a combined three hits and no runs, allowing Hagerstown to take a 3-2 road win.
Hagerstown (59-48, 19-18) took the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. With runners on first and second, third basemen Sean Nicol singled over the head of second basemen Odubel Herrera to plate catcher David Freitas.
The ‘Dads dodged a bullet in the top of the third inning by stranding runners on first and third, when Hagerstown designated hitter Kevin Keyes grounded out to end the inning.
Hickory (63-43, 23-15) tied the game in the bottom of the third inning with a walk and two hits. Catcher Kellin Deglan led off the inning with a single and two batters later, Braxton Lane walked to put runners on first and second.
Shortstop Jurickson Profar singled to bring home Deglan, but Profar was gunned down by the cutoff man at second base to end the inning.
The Suns immediately answered back in the top of the fourth off the bat of Sean Nicol, who tripled, scoring Wade Moore. Nicol later scored in the inning on an sacrifice fly to center field by Chris Curran to make it a 3-1 lead for the Suns.
The Crawdads continued the back-and-forth struggle between the two teams in the bottom of the fourth inning. Tomas Telis singled to lead off the inning, and first basemen Andrew Clark followed that with walk to put runners on first and second.
Two batters later, Herrera singled on a ground ball to center field to score Telis. Herrera advanced to second and Clark made it to third base.
Despite two runners in scoring position, the ‘Dads failed to drive either runner in. Deglan struck out swinging and Jhonny Gomez flied to right field for the second and third outs of the inning.
The missed opportunity to score ended up hurting Hickory in the end.
Both bullpens were strong after taking over for their respective starting pitchers — Hickory’s Luke Jackson (4-3, 4.47) and Hagerstown’s A.J. Cole (3-6, 3.48)
The Crawdads and Suns bullpens allowed a combined three hits when they took over for Jackson and Cole, who left the game after five innings.
The lack of offense and strong pitching allowed Hagerstown to hold on to its one-run lead and win the game.
Hickory and Hagerstown play in the third contest of a four-game series today at L.P. Frans Stadium. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.