Following a one hour, 18 minute rain delay, the Hickory Crawdads cruised to the 10-3 win against the Lexington Legends, before 2,552 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium on Saturday evening.
Jake Skole helped pace the offense with a triple, a home run and a double, just missing what would have been the first cycle in Crawdads history by a single.
The Legends (52-72, 17-37) grabbed the early lead on Telvin Nash's RBI double in the first inning. But the Crawdads (71-52, 31-24) plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take a 2-1 lead. Jurickson Profar reached on a two-based error to start the inning and moved tthird on a ground ball out. Toma Telis' scored Profar to tie the game; Christian Villanueva doubled, and he scored on Skole's run-scoring triple.
Hickory added to its lead by scoring three more runs in the bottom of the second. Kellin Deglan walked and moved to third on a base hit by Jhonny Gomez. With two outs, Odubel Herrera drove in Deglan with an RBI single to left field, which was misplayed by Ruben Sosa, enabling Gomez to score as well. Herrera went to second on the play and he scored on an RBI single by Telis that gave Hickory a 5-1 lead.
Back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the fifth made it 7-1. Villanueva belted the inning's first pitch over the left-field wall; Skole followed and smoked a solo shot over the right-field fence. Winning pitcher Cody Buckel (7-3) went six innings and gave up three runs. A two-run double by Sosa in the top of the sixth got Lexington within four runs at 7-3.
But Hickory put the game away with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. With Telis at first and one out, Skole drove in his third run of the game with an RBI double to left-center field. Skole scored later in the inning on a wild pitch to make it 9-3.
The Crawdads scored again in the bottom of the eighth. Profar walked, moved to second on a ground ball out, Telis singled moving Profar to third, and Villanueva drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right field. Ironically, Santana misplayed the ball and dropped it for an error.
Villanueva reached base and Telis moved to second base. But Skole, needing a single to hit for the cycle, grounded out on a great play by second baseman Delino DeShields, Jr. to end the inning.
Jose Monegro, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief, picked up his first save.
NOTES: The Crawdads go for the series win against Lexington on Sunday at 5 p.m. Don't miss a pre-game Faith and Family Day event with Freedom Biker Church of Hickory at 3:30 p.m., which is open to all fans with a game ticket. Sunday will also be Willy Wonka Day. Gates open at 3:15 p.m.