It was a forgotten weekend for the Hickory Crawdads. One of the hottest teams in minor league baseball in recent weeks, the Crawdads (54-33 ovearll; 13-5 second half of the South Atlantic League) hit a snap as they were swept in a three-game series by the Savannah Sand Gnats in a battle of first-place teams in the SAL.
Sand Gnats, who own the best record in the minor leagues (56-28) defeated Hickory 8-2 Sunday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.
For the third straight night it was the 'Gnats (14-4, second half), who jumped out to an early lead. Savannah picked up a run in the third and three more in the fifth against losing pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez (5-3) to take a 4-0 lead. Rodriquez coughed up four runs on eight hits with four strikeouts over five innings.
The 'Dads responded with a run in the sixth on a RBI single by Joe Jackson that made it 4-1, but the Sand Gnats pushed the lead back to four when they plated a run in the top of the seventh. Evan Van Hooiser had a run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh, but Hickory's rally was cut short when Michael De Leon grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Savannah put the contest out of reach thanks to three runs on three hits with two walks against Hickory reliever Josh McElwee in the top of the ninth.
Ronald Guzman led the way for Hickory going 2-3 with a walk and a run scored. Jackson finished the night 1-3 with a RBI; he was also hit by a pitch; Van Hoosier went 1-4 with a RBI. Despite the three-game losing streak, the Crawdads remain in a first-place tie with Greensboro in the Northern Division. The 'Dads go back to work Monday when they host Lexington for game one of a three-game series starting at 7:00 p.m.
Crawdads Home Stand: The Crawdads are home for another three games in the home stand, with tickets still available for all three contests! TICKETS
All-Star Jersey Auction: The Crawdads are auctioning off the authentic, game worn jerseys from this year's South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory! Jerseys from both the Northern and Southern Division players and coaches are up for bid now on the 'Dads online auction page! AUCTION SITE
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: Evan Van Hooiser, Hickory Crawdads