The Hickory Crawdads saw their nine-game win streak and their perfect start to the second half of the season come to a end Wednesday afternoon. Kannapolis scored eight times in the fifth inning and defeated Hickory 12-3 at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Hickory's (47-29 overall; 6-1 second half South Atlantic League) pitching staff, much like Kannapolis did Tuesday night, suffered a huge meltdown Wednesday afternoon. The Crawdads walked 11 men during Wednesday's matinee. The Crawdads used five different pitchers in the loss, including utility infielder Janluis Castro.
Castro who tossed 1.1 perfect innings of relief, had two strikeouts in his professional pitching debut.
Leading 1-0 thanks to a first-inning home run by third baseman Trey Michalczewski, the Intimidators (33-41; 4-3) broke the game open with an eight-run explosion in the fifth. And they did the majority of their damage against losing pitcher Anyelo Leclerc (1-1) and reliever Felix Carvallo. The Intimidators scored their eight runs on just four hits to go with five walks.
Leclerc gave up four runs on four hits with four walks, and six strikeouts during his four innings on the mound.
Designated hitter Danny Hayes came through with two big hits in the 13-batter frame, connecting on a two-run homer to right field before he drove in two more runs on a single to right his second time around. Center fielder Hunter Jones also went deep in the breakout frame, crushing a three-run blast to left for his fifth home run of the season. Kannapolis expanded its lead with a run in the seventh and two more tallies in the eighth.
Lewis Brinson lined a two-run homer to left field in the third inning for the Crawdads; Nomar Mazara drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.
Brinson finished the game 1-4 with his fourth home run of the year and two RBI; first baseman Ryan Cordell went 2-4 with a stolen base.
The loss is just the second in the last 23 games for the Crawdads, who remain in first place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division. The 'Dads and Intimidators wrap up their four-game series Thursday night at 7:00 p.m.
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