The 1st-Half Northern Division Champion Hickory Crawdads plated four runs in the fifth inning en route to the 5-2 victory against the Hagerstown Suns, before 555 fans at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday night.
After three scoreless innings alternated by Crawdads RHP Nick Tepesch and Hagerstown RHP A.J. Cole (L, 4-7), the 'Dads (73-53, 33-25) cracked the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth. 2B Odubel Herrera started the inning by getting to first on a fielding error charged to 2B Adrian Sanchez. Herrera stole his way to second base, and was brought home later by a two-out RBI double by C Tomas Telis, putting Hickory in front, 1-0.
The Suns (71-57, 31-27) responded right away in the bottom of the fourth inning. RF Kevin Keyes tied the game with a solo shot on the frame's first pitch. The next batter, SS Jason Martinson, was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Tepesch struck out the next two batters, but LF Wade Moore drove an RBI double to left field, scoring Martinson to make it 2-1.The 'Dads raced right back in front in the top of the fifth frame. With one down, LF Braxton Lane sparked the rally with a single. CF Jake Skole and Herrera followed with base hits of their own, loading the bases. SS Jurickson Profar emptied the bases, belting the first pitch to deep left field for a three-run triple, lifting Hickory in front, 4-2. Profar then came in on a sacrifice fly from 3B Christian Villanueva, stretching the lead to 5-2.
Tepesch gave way to RHP Jose Monegro (W, 2-0) to start the bottom of the fifth, and he kept the 'Dads in front through three perfect innings. RHP Ben Rowen tossed a scoreless eighth, before RHP Francisco Mendoza (S, 5) slammed the door with a shutout ninth, wrapping up the 5-2 win for Hickory.
NOTES: The Crawdads wrap up a four-game road series to Hagerstown on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. .....The 'Dads return to L.P. Frans Stadium for their final regular season home series from Thurs., Sept. 1 - Mon., Sept. 5, before the playoffs come to town! The series against Greenville gets going with Thirsty Thursday, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings, on Thurs., Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. Enjoy $1 can beers and fountain Pepsis, as well as a post-game concert by Norva Jean Dreams!