Apparantly, the Hickory Crawdads want to spruce things up. And in turn, they nearly gave one away on Tuesday night. The Crawdads (52-30 overall; 11-2 in the second half of the South Atlantic League) blew a three-run eighth inning lead, but rallied to beat the West Virginia Power 11-6 at Appalachian Power Park.
The Crawdads pulled things out with a five-run rally in the top of the ninth. Hickory sent nine men to the plate. Jairo Beras drove in the eventual go-ahead run with a bases loaded walk; Ronald Guzman followed with a two-run single and Evan Van Hoosier tripled in a pair to give the Crawdads their 11-6 lead.
JaCoby Jones of the Power (28-53; 8-5) tied things up with a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Josh McElwee.
The Crawdads have won five in a row, and they own a one-game lead on Kannapolis for first place in the North Division.
Tuesday night's win also moves the Crawdads all-time franchise record to 1,498-1,497, marking the first time in team history that their record is above .500.
The Crawdads built a 6-3 lead with two runs in the fourth, three runs in the fifth and a run in the seventh. Starting pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez was solid on the mound with only three runs allowed, two earned, on nine hits over 5.1 innings pitched.
Beras gave Hickory a 1-0 lead in the fourth with an RBI single. Kellin Deglan scored on the play, thanks to a throwing error. Following a West Virginia (28-53; 8-5) run in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single by Kawika Emsley-Pai, the Crawdads used a pair of home runs in the top of the fifth to stretch their lead to 5-1.
Ryan Cordell belted an opposite field solo shot to right field; Deglan had a two-run shot. The Power plated single runs in both the fifth and sixth innings on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Roy and a RBI single by Emsley-Pai respectively. But the 'Dads added a run of their own in the seventh, when Beras singled home Brinson for his second RBI of the game and a 6-3 lead.
All-Star closer Cody Kendall finished things off with a perfect ninth inning. McElwee (2-0), despite his meltdown in the bottom of the eighth, got the win.
Beras led the Crawdads offensively, going 3-4 with three RBI, a walk and a run scored; Cordell was 3-4, with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored; Deglan was 3-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Brinson went 1-2, with three walks and four runs scored.
The Crawdads and the Power hook up tonight for game two of their three-game series beginning at 7:05 p.m.
Crawdads on the Road: The 'Dads will be on the road over the next two days playing the Northern Division rival West Virginia Power! Make sure to listen in to all the road action LIVE online! INFO
4th of July at L.P. Frans Stadium: The Crawdads will be back at home for Independence Day this Friday! Don't miss out on the perfect combination of baseball and 4th of July fireworks! Limited tickets are still available! TICKETS
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!
Photo Courtesy: Cody Randall, Hickolry Crawdads