The Hickory Crawdads received a solid pitching performance from Kelvin Vasquez and another good night at the plate by surging outfielder Nomar Mazara Friday night, but those efforts fell short as the 'Dads (14-19) fell to the first-place Hagerstown 5-2 at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Suns (26-7) swept the four-game series over their Northern Division rivals; the 'Dads have dropped a season-high six games. The Hickory offense continued its recent struggles as well. Mazara's two-run homer in the eighth inning spoiled Hagerstown's shutout bid.
Vasquez kept his team in the game early, with the Dominican Republic righty going toe-to-toe with Hagerstown starter Nick Pivetta. After two scoreless frames to start the game, the Suns scored twice on three hits in the third to take a 2-0 lead. Second baseman John Wooten lined a solo home run to left in third giving Hagerstown a 3-0 lead.
Vasquez (1-1) settled down and retired the last seven batters he faced. He gave up three runs, all earned, on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six innings. The Suns scored the last two runs off Hickory reliever Collin Wiles in the eighth for a 5-0 lead.
Pivetta (5-2) got the win with five shutout innings. He scattered three hits, he walked three and struck out six. Mazara ended the night going 2-4 with his third home run of the season, including his second in as many night. Isiah Kiner-Falefa continued his resurgence at the plate going 2-3 with a walk and a stolen base.
The Augusta GreenJackets come to town for the first time in 2014, with game one of the four-game series scheduled for Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. Ryder Jones, who played for Watauga High last season, is a member of the Greenjackets.
Jones, an all-state selection for the Pioneers and the North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year last year, is hitting .267 in 31 games this season with 31 hits, including seven doubles, and 13 RBI.