A standing-room-only crowd of 5,225 fans packed L.P. Frans Stadium, as the 1st-Half Northern Division Champion Hickory Crawdads took the decisive 9-2 victory against the Delmarva Shorebirds on Monday night.
The Shorebirds (40-42, 5-7) took an early lead with a run against RHP Nick Tepesch (W, 4-3) and the Crawdads in the top of the second. C Joe Oliveira kept the inning going with a two-out single and quickly moved to third on a double by 2B Michael Rooney. LF Mikey Planeta brought in Oliveira with an RBI single, putting the Shorebirds in front, 1-0.
The Crawdads (47-33, 7-5) responded right away, striking for the game-tying run against LHP Jarret Martin (L, 4-4) in the bottom of the second frame. 1B Andrew Clark led off with a walk, before promptly scoring on an RBI double by 3B Christian Villanueva, tying it at 1-1.
Hickory then raced in front with three runs in the bottom of the third. LF Jonathan Roof led off with a single, before moving all the way to third on a misfired pickoff attempt by Martin. SS Jurickson Profar knocked in Roof with an RBI base hit and then stole his way to second base. After 2B Odubel Herrera was hit by a pitch, DH Tomas Telis bounced into a fielder's choice that drew an errant throw from Martin again, enabling everyone to reach safely, including Profar coming in to score. A walk and a strikeout later, RF Josh Richmond grounded into an RBI fielder's choice, scoring Herrera from third to make it 4-1.
After Delmarva 3B Adam Gaylord drove a solo home run in the top of the fourth to cut it to a 4-2 lead for Hickory, the Crawdads continued to swing away against RHP Cameron Roth in the bottom of the fourth. C Kellin Deglan started the inning with a double and took third on a sacrifice bunt by Roof. After a strikeout, Herrera came through with an RBI single to plate Deglan and push the lead to 5-2.
The Crawdads tacked on another run against Roth in the fifth on an RBI single by CF Jake Skole, and then struck for two more in the sixth. Deglan again led off the inning, this time getting on with a free pass. Deglan moved to third on a ground out, and then was joined on base by Profar, who also worked a walk. Herrera followed with an RBI double, plating Deglan and advancing Profar to third. Telis then bounced an RBI grounder to short, allowing Profar to score and giving the Crawdads the 8-2 lead.
Tepesch limited the Shorebirds to just the two runs through his six innings, before giving way to RHP Ben Henry. Henry tossed a scoreless seventh and eighth, before Profar dealt the final blow with an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Henry then retired all three batters in a row in the top of the ninth, closing the 9-2 win for Hickory.
NOTES: The Crawdads host Delmarva on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with gates opening at 6 p.m. It is Dollar Day - buy one ticket, get a second Grandstand Ticket for just a buck! Also, nine other items are just $1 each. Tuesday is also Bring a Banner Night, with all fans that bring a banner receiving a Half Off Ticket.
Tuesday's game features the KRAFT Singles Tuesday Night Tickets deal -- bring a KRAFT Singles wrapper to the Ticket Office for a buy one, get one offer from KRAFT!