The Hickory Crawdads earned a split of their doubleheader Friday night against the Charleston RiverDogs Friday night. The 'Dads (18-22) dropped the opener 4-2 but bounced back to win the nightcap 3-0 to leave town with the series win.
Both contests featured standout pitching performances. Charleston's Brady Lail struck out 11 while earning the win in game one; Hickory's Tyler Smith tossed five shutout with seven strikeouts to pick up the win in game two.
In game one, the Riverdogs (21-19) roughed up Frank Lopez, who was named Pitcher of the Week in the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week on Monday. Lopez coughed up three runs on four hits in the bottom of the second inning, breaking a 1-1 tie to take the lead a 4-1 lead.
Charleston center fielder Brandon Thomas, who belted two home runs in the opener, hit the first pitch of the inning for a solo shot to kick-start the rally. The 'Dads narrowed the gap to 4-2 with a run in the top of the third, when Evan Van Hoosier tripled to left-center and scored on a throwing error at third.
The Crawdads threatened one last time in the top of the seventh, placing the tying runs at second and third with two outs, but shortstop Michael De Leon struck out looking to end the game.
Lail (6-1) earned the win for Charleston giving up two runs on four hits with 11 strikeouts over six innings pitched. Lopez (3-2) took the loss giving up a season-high four runs on four hits with four walks, and six strikeouts over six innings. RiverDogs reliever Chris Smith picked up his save of the year.
In game two, the Crawdads responded with a dominant pitching effort highlighted by Smith keeping the 'Dogs at bay over the first five frames. The Dads capitalized on that stellar pitching performance by jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the third when Kevin Torres doubled to right, took third base on a passed ball, and eventually scored on an RBI ground out by Michael De Leon.
The narrow advantage seemed secure until the sixth, when Charleston used three-straight, 2-out walks by 'Dads reliever Ryne Slack to load the bases. But right-hander Josh McElwee struck out Miguel Andujar to end the inning.
Hickory picked up some much-needed insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Nomar Mazara doubled to right and scored on Travis Demeritte's home run for a 3-0 lead.
The RiverDogs staged another rally in the seventh. With one out, McElwee, who put two runners on with consecutive singles, bounced back by striking out Charleston right fielder Mikeson Oliberto, who was caught looking. Oliberto argued with home plate umpire Derek Gonzales to the point of being ejected. RiverDogs manager Luis Dorante was eventually ejected arguing the call as well. Following the ejections, McElwee finished things off by striking out Tyler Wade to give the Crawdads the win.
Smith (1-0) earned his first win of the year; Charleston starter Caleb Smith (3-3) suffered the loss giving up just one run on two hits with a one walk, and eight strikeouts over six innings. McElwee picked up his first save of the year with four strikeouts.
Demeritte was a combined 2-6 with his team-leading eighth home run of the year; former Citadel star Jackson went 2-3 with a stolen base in his return to Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park.
The Crawdads will start a four-game series in Kannapolis tonight at 7:05 pm.
'Dads Reveal All-Inclusive All-Star Deal
The Hickory Crawdads have announced a special All-Inclusive Ticket Package for the upcoming South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory, allowing fans to attend the game and all the other events scheduled for the two-day celebration on June 16th and 17th.
The All-Inclusive Ticket Package includes the Downtown All-Star Bash "Under the Sails" on Monday, the SAL Hall-of-Fame Luncheon Tuesday afternoon, the pre-game picnic, the 55th Annual SAL All-Star Game, and a Post-Game VIP ticket, a $125 value for only $95.
Crawdads season seat holders can purchase the deal for a reduced rate of only $90.
The Downtown All-Star Bash will be held the night before the All-Star Game on Monday, June 16th, with All-Stars, League Executives and fans gathered "Under the Sails" for food, music, and a Fan vs. All-Star Cornhole Tournament.
The SAL Hall of Fame Luncheon kicks off the festivities on Tuesday, June 17th at 11:00 am at The Crossing at Hollar Mill in Hickory. Crawdads minority owners Luther Beaver and Charles Young will join former Hickory Mayor George Murphy and former Rome Braves Manager Randy Ingle to form the four-person induction class.
A free Fan Fest will run from 2:00 - 5:00 pm in the L.P. Frans Stadium parking lot, featuring the All-Star players signing autographs, inflatables, a band, and much more. The Pre-Game VIP Picnic will begin at 5:30 pm in the brand new Picnic Pavilion. The picnic includes hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ, chili, beans, slaw, and a desert, with Pepsi products also provided.
The 55th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game at L.P. Frans Stadium will start at 7:00 pm and will be followed by a post-game fireworks show. The day will conclude with a Post-Game After Party at the ballpark, with a live band and concessions. The VIP ticket includes food and drinks in the VIP area with the All-Star players.
For more information or to order the All-Inclusive All-Star Game Ticket Package, call the Crawdads front office at (828) 322-3000.
Crawdads on the Road
The Crawdads are on the road for the next five days, playing the Charleston RiverDogs in a doubleheader Friday before starting a 4-game series in Kannapolis against the Intimidators on Saturday. Make sure to stay up to date with the 'Dads by listening live to all the road and home games this season online! LISTEN
All-Star Hotel Deal: The Hickory Crawdads and the Crowne Plaza hotel, the official host hotel of the Crawdads, are proud to announce a special package allowing out of town fans to save on both their rooming and ticket to the 55th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game at L.P. Frans Stadium! MORE INFO
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!