Christian Villanueva drove the game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th, lifting the 1st-Half Northern Division Champion Hickory Crawdads to the 14-13 victory in extra innings against the Hagerstown Suns, before 1,001 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Hagerstown (58-48, 18-18) took the lead right away with two runs in the top of the first against Nick Tepesch. Blake Kelso led off with a single and quickly stole second base. Chris Curran knocked in Kelso with an RBI single, and then stole second himself. After Curran moved to third on a fly out to center, Kevin Keyes drove an RBI base hit to plate Curran and make it 2-0.
The Crawdads (63-42, 23-14) quickly cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first, facing Matt Grace. With two down and the bases empty, Christian Villanueva kept the inning going with a single. He then raced all the way in on an RBI single by Andrew Clark, cutting the Suns lead to 2-1.
Hagerstown stretched the lead back out by scoring three times in the next two innings. Jason Martinson plated the run in the third with a sacrifice fly; Michael Taylor belted a two-run bomb in the fourth giving the Suns the 5-1 advantage.
Hickory came racing back with four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Braxton Lane got things started by reaching on an error; the Crawdads then produced four consecutive singles. Jurickson Profar moved Lane to third with a base hit, Odubel Herrera belted an RBI single to plate Lane, Villanueva and Clark had back-to-back RBI singles, Josh Richmond capped off the rally with the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly to tie up the game, 5-5.
The Suns answered with four runs of their own in the top of the sixth. Following a pair of walks to start the stanza, Taylor cracked hit his second home run of the game, this one a three-run shot over the left-field wall. Kelso and Curran botyh walked, a fielder's choice and another walk loaded the bases with one away. Martinson bounced into another RBI fielder's choice, driving Kelso in from third and putting the Suns ahead, 9-5.
But the Crawdads came right back with a five-run explosion in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Alejandro Selen led off with a double and moved to third on a ground out. After Lane was hit by a pitch, pitcher Greg Holt attempted a pick off throw to first, but threw the ball away, enabling Selen to score. Profar walked and Herrera singled to load the bases. Villanueva walked to force in a run that made it 9-7. One out later, Richmond had a two-run single, scoring Profar and Herrera, while advancing Villanueva to second that tied the game at 9-9. A double steal, which drew an errant throw from catcher Adrian Nieto past third base, allowed Villanueva to score the go-ahead run for a 10-9 Hickory lead.
But Hagerstown put together a three-run rally in the top of the seventh to regain the lead, 12-10. After Hagerstown plated an additional insurance run in the top of the ninth, Selen came through with a game-tying, three-run homer with one out in the bottom of the ninth that tied the game at 13-13, forcing extra innings.
Jimmy Reyes (6-0), who got the win in relief, faced the minimum three batters in the top of the 10th before Hickory scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning against losing pitcher Sam Brown (2-5). Profar started the inning with a base hit and quickly moved to second when Herrera was hit by a pitch. After a wild pitch advanced both runners to second and third. Villanueva plated the winning run with a sacrifice fly to right field.
NOTES: The Crawdads host the Suns for Dollar Day on Tuesday! Buy one ticket and get a second grandstand ticket for just a buck! Plus, nine other items at the ballpark will be only $1 each......Tuesday also features the KRAFT Singles Tuesday Night Tickets deal. Just bring a KRAFT Singles wrapper to the Ticket Office for a Buy One, Get One offer from KRAFT. First Pitch on Tuesday is 7 p.m., with gates opening at 6 p.m.