The Hickory Crawdads came out swinging and never looked back Friday night, as the 'Dads backed a great performance from ace C.J. Edwards with two home runs and 11 total hits in a 9-3 route of the Asheville Tourists in front of 2,882 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Hickory bats got rolling early with two first inning runs, thanks in part to three Asheville errors, to take an early 2-0 lead. The 'Dads would never relinquish that early advantage, scoring once in the third, twice in the fourth, once and the fifth and three more times in the seventh for their 6-run win.
The offense was fueled by two more Crawdads home runs, including a solo bomb by Joey Gallo in the third and a two-run shot from Luis Marte in the fourth. Gallo's dinger pushed his SAL leading total to 10 on the season, a mark that almost reached 11 when Gallo flied out to the wall in the 8th.
The Crawdads two bombs also push them just two home runs away from the 2,000th dinger in franchise history. All that offense was more than enough support for Edwards (2-1), who cruised through the five shutout innings before running out of gas in the 6th. At the end of his outing, the Hickory hurler went a season-long 5.1 innings giving up three runs on four hits, two walks and two strikeouts while earning his second win of the year.
The 'Dads bullpen put up a strong effort as well, with Jose Leclerc, Josh McElwee and Coby Cowgill combining to toss 2.2 stressful, yet scoreless innings of relief to secure the win. Asheville starter T.J. Oakes (3-2) took the loss after giving up six runs, four earned, on seven hits and five strikeouts over his five innings pitched.
Gallo, Luis Mendez and Jordan Akins all finished the night with multi-hit games. Gallo went 2-4 with his HR and 3 runs scored, Mendez finished 2-4 with three runs scored as well, while Akins ended his evening 2-3 with two doubles and a run scored. With the win the Crawdads (16-11) take two out of three games against the Tourists (16-11) to stay in first place in the SAL North Division. The Crawdads will now welcome in the Savannah Sand Gnats for the first time this season. The four-game series kicks off on Saturday night at 6:00 pm.
NOTES: The Crawdads now sit just two home runs shy of hitting their 2,000th homer in franchise history. Make sure to come out to L.P. Frans Stadium over the rest of the home stand for a chance to witness history and win some cash! One lucky fan in attendance for the record setting blast will take home 2,000 dimes ($200) and also get to meet the home run hitting Crawdad for a photo and autographed ball....A Week of Fun at L.P. Frans!: Saturday is chalk full of great promotions at L.P. Frans, starting with the Home Run Trot 5K Race starting at 8:00 am! The fun continues at the 6:00 pm game with the first 100 fans receiving a $1 scratch off ticket courtesy of the North Carolina Education Lottery, while the first 1,000 fans in attendance will take home a FREE Crawdads replica jersey courtesy of Pepsi! It's also Conrad's 21st Birthday Bash at the park, with plenty of his mascot friends scheduled to attend....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.