ROME-The Hickory Crawdads began the second half of the South Atlantic League season in much the same way that they ended the first half by pulling out another win. The Crawdads (42-28; 1-0) won their 16th game in 17 tries by knocking off the Rome Braves 8-3 Thursday night at State Mutual Stadium.
The Crawdads have also scored at least five runs for the seventh time in their last eight contests. Second baseman Travis Demeritte led the attack going 2-3, which included his league-leading 16th home run of the year, two runs-batted-in, and four runs scored.
It was Demeritte's long ball in the second that gave the 'Dads a 2-0 lead. The advantage doubled to 4-0 with another pair of runs in the fourth as Kellin Deglan drove in Demeritte with an RBI double before scoring himself on a throwing error. Hickory's lead grew to 6-0 in the sixth, when Deglan and Jairo Beras lined back-to-back RBI doubles.
The Braves finally got on the scoreboard with an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth, but the Crawdads responded with a run in the seventh, thanks to Demeritte, who walked and later scored on a balk. Luis Marte singled and scored on an error in the eighth for an 8-1 'Dads lead. Rome pushed across two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but reliever Jose Valdespina eventually retired the side to end the game.
Deglan joined Demeritte with a big night at the plate. He was 3-5 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored. Beras also had a three hit night, going 3-4 with a double and a RBI.
Crawdads starting pitcher Tyler Smith (4-1) earned the win with five shutout innings on four hits, two walks and three strikeouts. The Crawdads and the Braves (0-1) face off again Friday night at 7:00 p.m., in game two of their four-game series.
2nd Half Commences: The Hickory Crawdads kick off the 2nd half of the SAL season with three more road games against the Rome Braves. The 'Dads will return home on Monday, June 23rd for an 8-game home stand! TICKETS
Matt Hardy Appearance: Meet-N-Greet tickets are still available for former WWE Superstar Matt Hardy's appearance on L.P. Frans Stadium on Saturday, June 28th! Tickets are only $22, and include a pre-game meal! Don't miss out! PROMOTIONS
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!