The Hickory Crawdads continue to struggle. Despite a dominant performance on Wednesday, the Crawdads (57-40 overall; 16-12 second half of the South Atlantic League season) reverted back to their losing ways Thursday night in a 4-3 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws in the series finale at L.P. Frans Stadium.
All-star Evan Van Hoosier got Hickory off to a great start with a lead-off homer in the bottom of the first. The Crawdads, thanks to that blast, built an early 2-0 lead. Kellin Deglan added a run-scoring single in the frame. But it wasn't meant to be as the BlueClaws (37-60; 10-18) chipped away to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the third.
Willians Astudillo put Lakewood on top with a two-run single. Luis Marte tied it up with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the fourth, but a a rare throwing error by Hickory shortstop Michael De Leon, who was named the Defender of the Month by the Texas Rangers for June in the top of the 5th, allowed the eventual winning run to score.
And Hickory, following its jackrabbit start, was held to three hits the rest of the way. It's also the sixth time this season that Hickory scored first and lost the game.
The 'Dads threatened in the bottom of the fifth putting runners at first and third with one out, but they failed to score. Hickory went the rest of the way without another base runner---a string of 14 consecutive batters retired by the BlueClaws pitching staff.
'Claws reliever Joe DeNato (1-0) earned the win with 3.1 perfect innings out of the bullpen with four strikeouts. Teammate Aaron Baker picked up his first save of the year with 1.1 perfect frames to close out the game. Crawdads starter Ricardo Rodriguez (5-5) took the loss after giving up four runs, three earned, on five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over five innings pitched.
Van Hoosier finished the night 1-4 with his eighth homer of the season; De Leon and Joe Jackson went 1-3 with a walk; Deglan was 1-4 with an RBI. The Crawdads will now go on the road for a four-game series in Greensboro against the first place Grasshoppers Friday night at 7:00 p.m.
Crawdads on the Road: The 'Dads will be on the road over the weekend with a critical 4-game series against the first place Greensboro Grasshoppers. Make sure to listen in to all the action LIVE online or on the Crawdads official team app! LISTEN
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!