Norman Mazara highlighted a game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth Saturday night as he doubled home Lewis Brinson with the winning run in a 8-7 win against the West Virginia Power at L.P.
The Crawdads (34-27), who now find themselves a whopping seven games over .500, have won eight in a row. They also won three games in walk-off fashion. The Power has lost six straight.
It was a dramatic win to saythe least for the Crawdads, who blew a 5-0 and 7-5 lead over the course of the game. Evan Van Hoosier got things started in the ninth with a lead-off walk. He moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt, but he was thrown out trying to steal third.
Brinson kept the rally alive when he was hit by a pitch, bringing Mazara to the plate with two outs. Mazara then lined a ball off the top of the right-center field wall scoring Brinson from first base with the winning run.
The Crawdads built an early 5-0 lead thanks to Van Hoosier's solo home run in the first; they added to the lead in the third on a walk to Van Hoosier, a double by Michael De Leon, and a costly throwing error by pitcher Cody Dickson. Janluis Castro had a two-run double in the fourth---marking his first extra base hit and RBIs as a member of the Crawdads.
Trailing 5-1, West Virginia (20-41) exploded for four runs on just one hit, four walks, and a hit batter in the sixth to tie the score at 5-5. Rehabbing right-hander Daniel Bard struggled for his second straight outing. The former Tar Heel and Red Sox reliever allowed four runs on four walks and he hit a batter in two-thirds of an inning.
Ronald Guzman and Travis Demeritte crushed back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the sixth that gave the Crawdads a short-lived 7-5 lead. Guzman belted his third home run of the year, a line drive over the center field wall; Demeritte's monster shot to left-center field on the very next pitch pushed his South Atlantic League leading total to 14.
But the Power kept chipping away and eventually tied the game again. They pushed a run across in the eighth on a two-out, run-scoring double off of 'Dads reliever Josh McElwee before they tied the game in the ninth with a two-out, RBI single against Hickory all-star closer Cody Kendall.
Kendall (5-2) earned the win after blowing the save thanks to the Crawdads comeback. The right-hander allowed one run on three hits and two strikeouts during his one-inning stint.
Brinson finished the game 0-1, but reached base safely four times with three walks and the pivotal hit-by-pitch in the ninth. Mazara went 1-5 with his game-winning RBI double, Demeritte was 2-4 with a homer and a double, Guzman ended the night 1-3 with a home run and a walk, and Van Hoosier was 1-2 with a home run, three walks, and two runs scored.
The Crawdads go for their ninth straight win and their second consecutive series sweep in the fourth and final game against the Power Sunday at 5:00 p.m.
End of the Home Stand: The Crawdads wrap up their home stand with a Sunday evening game full of great promos! It's Craw"DADS" day with all dads getting in free, and Dale Earnhardt Chevy Night with all Chevys getting free parking and all fans with Chevy keys getting a free ticket! PROMOTIONS
All-Inclusive All-Star Package: Don't miss a single event surrounding the 55th annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory by purchasing the All-Inclusive Ticket Deal for only $95, a $25 savings! INFO
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Photo Courtesy: Nomar Mazara, Hickory Crawdads