Another day, another dramatic win. The Hickory Crawdads continued their improbable streak Sunday as the 'Dads swept a doubleheader against the Charleston RiverDogs, taking game one 10-2 before
winning 1-0 on a walk-off double by Ryan Rua in the finale to push Hickory's winning streak to seven games.
Game one saw 'Dads starter CJ Edwards lead the way with just one run allowed on one hit and eight strikeouts over his four dominating innings. The Crawdads offense backed up their ace with 10 runs on 12 hits, plating a run in every inning except the first.
Five Crawdads finished the game with multiple hits, with Nomar Mazara going 2-4 with his first home run of the year and three RBI. Luis Marte also launched his first long ball of the season in the second while finishing 2-2 with an RBI and three runs scored.
The runaway victory made a winner out of 'Dads reliever Tyler Smith (3-0), who threw one scoreless inning with two strikeouts.
All of the offense from game one would dry up in the nightcap however, as the Crawdads and RiverDogs played to a scoreless tie well through the scheduled seven innings. The two starters dominated for their respective clubs, with Connor Sadzeck allowing just three hits and no walks while going six shutout innings with 8 Ks. Charleston hurler Rafael De Paula one upped the 'Dads hurler though, tossing five frames of no-hit baseball with just three walks and 10 strikeouts.
The pitching prowess would continue with the bullpens as well, with Alexander Claudio of the 'Dads and Taylor Garrison of the Dogs each keeping the game tied at zero, setting up another dramatic ninth inning.
Nick Williams kick started the rally with a leadoff single to center, giving the 'Dads just their second hit of the game. Williams proceeded to steal second before Joey Gallo walked to bring up Rua with two on and nobody out. Batting with a runner in scoring position for the first time in the game, Rua drove a pitch over Charleston center fielder Taylor Dugas' head to score Williams and give Hickory the 1-0 win.
The game winning double gave the Crawdads a walk-off victory for the second straight night, following Lewis Brinson's walk-off infield single on Saturday night. Claudio (2-1) picked up the win for Hickory following his three perfect innings of relief with six strikeouts. RiverDogs reliever Alex Smith (2-1) took the loss after allowing the only run of the game in his 1+ innings of work.
Sadzeck and Claudio combined to fan 14 Dogs in the second game, setting a new season high for Hickory. Conversely, Crawdads batters struck out a season high 16 times against the Charleston hurlers.
With the doubleheader knockout the Crawdads (11-7) sweep their four-game series with the RiverDogs (8-9) and push their winning streak to seven straight games. The 'Dads will have their first off day of the season on Monday, before starting a 7-game road trip with three games in Greensboro on Tuesday. Game one of the series has a 7:00 scheduled first pitch.
NOTES: The Crawdads now take their winning streak on the road for a 3-game series in Greensboro, followed by a 4-game set in Hagerstown. You can follow the 'Dads through the entire trip on 1490 AM or online at hickorycrawdads.com.....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.
Photo Courtesy: Nomar Mazara, Hickory Crawdads