Monday was a night of home runs and strikeouts for the Hickory Crawdads, as the 'Dads rode solid pitching and a pair of long balls to a 6-3 win against the Asheville Tourists at historic McCormick Field.
Hickory starting pitcher CJ Edwards set the tone early and finally earned his first win of the season, as the lean right-hander allowed just one run on three hits with six strikeouts in his five innings pitched. Edwards received plenty of offensive back up as well, as both Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro went deep in the win.
It was actually the Tourists who struck first in the matchup however, with third baseman Jason Stolz picking up an RBI single in the second inning to put Asheville ahead 1-0. Gallo would quickly respond for the 'Dads though, as the slugging third baseman launched a towering 2-run bomb over the center field wall in the third to put Hickory ahead for good at 2-1.
Left fielder Nick Williams doubled the lead in the third with a two-out RBI single to right to put the 'Dads ahead 3-1. Williams' hit with a runner in scoring position was one of four on the night for Hickory, helping to make a recent struggle a success for at least one night.
Alfaro would add to the advantage with his first long ball of the season in the fourth. The solo shot sailed over the left field wall to put the Crawdads ahead 4-1 before Joe Maloney singled in Nomar Mazara to make the lead 5-1. The Tourists would cut their deficit in half with two runs in the seventh off Crawdads reliever Jose Leclerc, before Mazara laced an opposite field single in the ninth to score Ryan Rua and end the scoring at 6-3.
Four different Crawdads ended the night with a multi-hit game and an RBI, including Gallo (2-5, HR, 2 RBI), Alfaro (2-4, HR, RBI), Williams (2-4, RBI) and Mazara (2-5, RBI). Maloney (1-4, RBI) drove in the other run. Alfaro's two hits also extended his hitting streak to 8 games, the highest mark by a Crawdad hitter this season.
Edwards (1-0) earned the win for his outing while Asheville starter TJ Oakes (1-1) took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits during his 4.1 inning outing that was ended when the righty took a comebacker off his throwing shoulder. Hickory reliever Josh McElwee (2) earned the save after tossing 2.1 shutout innings on just three hits and four strikeouts.
Combined, Edwards (6), Jose Leclerc (1), and McElwee (4) combined to fan 11 Tourists to tie the 'Dads single game high this year.
With the win the Crawdads (5-7) take game one of their three-game series against the Tourists (6-6). The two clubs will face off again Tuesday at 7:05 pm.
NOTES: The 'Dads take on the Tourists two more times on Tuesday and Wednesday, before returning to LP Frans for a four-game weekend series against Charleston....Individual Tickets for all Crawdads home games are available right now at Hickorycrawdads.com or by calling (828) 322-3000! Group outings, corporate partnerships, Buffalo Wild Wings Claw Club memberships and Ticket Books are also available right now by calling the Front Office at (828) 322-3000.