Crawdads return from break, fall to West Virginia
It took eight innings in Thursday’s minor league baseball game, but West Virginia managed to score one run to get past Hickory.
After a pitching duel between Hickory’s Nick Tepesch and West Virginia’s Colton Cain, a double by Power first basemen Justin Howard in the top of the eighth gave his team a 1-0 lead they did not relinquish.
Tepesch (2-3, 3.43 ERA) had a strong outing, striking out nine batters in six innings, allowing six hits and no earned runs for Hickory (0-1, 40-29).
Power shortstop and leadoff hitter Andrew Maggi had three of the six hits allowed by Tepesch and finished the game 4-for-4 with one run scored.
While Tepesch was stout from the mound, the Crawdads’ offense struggled. They had two hits through six complete innings — one each from first basemen Andrew Clark and center fielder Jake Skole.
Colton Cain (5-5, 3.04 ERA), who started from the mound for the Power (1-0, 36-33), also pitched six innings and allowed the two hits by Clark and Skole.
A liner by Maggi in the top of the eighth was drilled straight back at Hickory relief Joe Van Meter, who tried to make the out at first.
However, a throwing error by Van Meter on the play allowed Maggi to reach base safely and advance to second.
The Powers’ Andy Vasquez moved Maggi to third on a bunt attempt, and Van Meter was able to get another out on a strikeout of Daniel Grovatt, but an RBI-double from Howard broke a scoreless tie.
Howard finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk, a double and an RBI.
Relief pitching by the Power surrendered two hits, one walk and struck out four batters to seal the road victory.
The Crawdads are back in action Friday against the Power at L.P. Frans Stadium. Game time is set for 7 p.m.