The Hickory Crawdads combined some early offense with standout pitching and a little good defense Friday night for a dominant 7-2 win over the Kannapolis Intimidators at CMC-NorthEast Stadium.
The Crawdads jumped on Kannapolis for a run in the 1st inning, three in the 3rd, one in the 4th, and two final runs in the 5th. That proved to be ample support for Hickory starting pitcher Kelvin Vasquez, who paced the 'Dads (13-13) with 6-shutout innings.
Eight Crawdads reached base and five different players scored at least one run, with Ronald Guzman (2-5, double, 3 RBI) and Evan Van Hoosier (1-2, three walks, three runs scored) leading the way.
The 'Dads scored a run in the first inning without the benefit of a base hit. Van Hoosier walked, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a fly out, and finally scored on an Nomar Mazara's sacrifice fly.
Guzman highlighted a three-run third inning with a two-run double; his RBI single scored Van Hoosier in the fourth giving the Crawdads a 5-0 lead. Travis Demeritte crushed his team-leading fifth home run of the year, a two-run shot in the fifth, that gave Hickory a commanding 7-0 lead.
Left fielder Eduard Pinto also made two outstanding defensive play. The first came in the first inning, when Pinto ran down a line drive in left and threw back to first in time to double off the Kannapolis base runner. Pinto came through again in the eighth, this time relaying a double to left to third baseman Nick Urbanus, who threw home in time to gun down the Intimidator runner at the plate.
Vasquez (1-0) earned the win for the 'Dads after holding the Intimidators scoreless over a season-high six innings, giving up only three hits and a walk while striking out four. The win pushes the Crawdads back to the .500 mark. The Intimidators (14-14) fall back to .500 with the loss. The two teams will meet up again Saturday at 7:05 p.m. for game two of their 4-game series.
All-Star Tickets on Sale: Tickets to the 55th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory on June 17th are on sale now! TICKETS
Breast Cancer Awareness Weekend: The Crawdads will host their annual Breast Cancer Awareness weekend May 9 through May 11, presented by Kicks 103.3 FM. Friday (5/9) will have "Paint the Park Pink", with fans able to get a $5 ticket by wearing pink to the game. Saturday (5/10) will see the first 1,000 fans with paid admittance take home a pink, replica Crawdads jersey courtesy of Pepsi. Sunday (5/11) will wrap up the festivities with a live, silent auction of the 'Dads game-worn, pink uniforms! TICKETS
Stay Connected: Make sure to stay connected with the Crawdads by visiting the 'Dads website at www.hickorycrawdads.com, or by following us on Facebook and Twitter!
Photo Courtesy: Kelvin Vasquez, Hickory Crawdads