HobbsDailyReport.com

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Whatever is needed to stay in contention for a second-half title, the Hickory Crawdads are delivering.

They four-hit the Columbia (S.C.) Fireflies on the road on Saturday night and won 3-1 to move into sole possession of first place in the Northern Division in South Atlantic League (SAL) baseball.

Hickory starter Edgar Arrendondo (6-5) threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, one run (earned), walking two and striking out seven as the Crawdads improved to 56-63 overall and 29-20 in the second half.

He is 4-3 with an ERA of 2.78 in his last 10 starts with six walks and 55 strikeouts.

Hagerstown (Md.) is in second place at 27-19 after its game against West Virginia on Saturday was postponed by rain.

Greensboro and West Virginia, at 24-22 and 25-23 respectively, are tied for third place and 3 ½ games back of the Crawdads after Greensboro beat Kannapolis 2-1 and then had its second game on Saturday halted in the fourth inning.

Pitching carried the Crawdads to their fourth straight win and their sixth in seven games.

After Derio Beltre pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief, C.D. Pelham came on in the ninth inning to register his ninth save.

Hickory scored all of its runs in the first three innings, one in each inning, and had seven hits.

Andretty Cordero and Yohel Pozo went 2-for-4, Alex Kowalczyk drove in a run and Brendon Davis hit his first home run of the year — a solo short in the second inning — to allow Arrendondo to pitch with a lead.

Leody Taveras walked in the first inning, Cordero singled and Kowalczyk drove in a run with a single.

In the second inning, Davis launched his home run to center field with one out for a 2-0 lead, and it was 3-0 in the third inning when Cordero singled, Pozo singled with two outs and the run scored on a field error.

The only Columbia run came in the fifth inning on Jay Jabs’ leadoff home run, his seventh of the season.

Gene Cone and Jacob Zarron each doubled, and Dash Willingham had the only other hit for the Fireflies (59-57, 19-29 second half, last place in the Southern Division).

A crowd of 4,677 watched in 92-degree weather as the Crawdads jumped on Columbia starter Martin Anderson (0-2) early. He went 5 2/3 innings, giving iup seven hits, three runs (two earned) with two walks and eight strikeouts.

The Crawdads close the series in Columbia, S.C., with a 5:05 p.m. game on Sunday before heading home. They’ll be off on Monday before playing Hagerstown a three-game set starting on Tuesday (all at 7 p.m.) at L.P. Frans Stadium.

After the short homestand, Hickory travels to play a series at Greensboro.