Crawdads throwback to basics in win
After struggling the past two games against Hagerstown, the Hickory Crawdads went back to basics Thursday.
The Crawdads, who sported replica jerseys from the 1939-60 Hickory Rebels, had a throwback night, going back to the tools that led them to a first half championship — hitting, pitching and defense.
Hickory pounded out eight runs on 15 hits on its way to an 8-1 win over Hagerstown in the series finale between the two teams.
A leadoff walk of Jurickson Profar in the bottom of the first inning put one runner on, and after two outs, Andrew Clark walked to put runners on first and second.
Josh Richmond doubled to the corner in left field on the next-at to score Profar, but Clark was gunned out at home despite a bobble on the throw home by left fielder Wade Moore.
The Crawdads (64-44, 24-16) scored two more runs in the next inning, and continued to work on Suns’ starter Robbie Ray (2-2, 2.29). Ray allowed three hits in the inning, including a double from Alejandro Selen and singles by Kellin Deglan and Profar.
Those two singles plated two runs to extend the Hickory lead to 3-0.
Hickory reached its hit total from the Wednesday’s game in the bottom of the third inning. An Andrew Clark leadoff single gave the ‘Dads their fifth hit.
Despite loading the bases in the top of the fourth inning on a hit batter, single and walk, Hickory starter Cody Buckel (5-3, 2.76) managed to get out of the inning with no runs allowed.
Buckel struck out David Frietas, got Kevin Keyes to fly out to center field and Jason Martinson popped out to first basemen Andrew Clark in foul territory.
Buckel wasn’t so lucky in the top of the fifth inning, though. The Suns (60-48, 20-19) broke the Hickory scoring streak in the top of the fifth. Right fielder Michael Taylor doubled to plate Brett Newsome.
Three more Hickory runs came in to score in the bottom of the seventh inning. Christian Villanueva and Jake Skole drove in a two runs on two singles.
Richmond also plated a run on a ground out to lift Hickory to a 7-1 lead.
Profar continued his standout performance in the eighth inning, collecting his fourth hit for the game He finished the game 4-for-4 from the plate with a walk, two runs scored and two RBIs.
Hickory plated an eighth and final run in the eighth inning. Braxton Lane doubled with one out, and scored later on a single by Odubel Herrera.
A five-hit game by the Suns in the end ultimately doomed the team in the loss.
Hickory reliever Ben Rowen picked up strong four-inning save, allowing one hit, three walks and struck out one batter.
The Crawdads takes to the road for a four-game series with the Asheville Tourists on Friday. The team is off Tuesday before returning Wednesday for an important four-game set with the Kannapolis Intimidators, a team the ‘Dads could face in the first round of the playoffs.