A hot-hitting Hickory Crawdads offense was held in check Saturday night as the 'Dads were swept in a double-header against the Savannah Sand Gnats at Historic Grayson Stadium.
Savannah (69-38 overall; 25-16, second half of the South Atlantic League season) won the opener 5-2 before taking the nightcap 8-0. The double-header loss leaves Hickory (65-46; 24-18) three games behind first-place Hagerstown in the SAL's Northern Division. The Suns blanked Charleston 1-0 Saturday night.
The Crawdads came into Saturday's twin bill averaging more than eight runs and 10 hits a game during the team's five-game winning streak. But as the old saying goes, good pitching will stop good hitting. And that was evident Saturday night.
Savannah's league-leading pitching staff held the Hickory to just five total runs on 13 hits, including one extra-base hit, over 13 innings. Offensively, the Sand Gnats utilized two big innings to come away with the sweep.
The 'Gnats plated all five of their runs in the fourth inning in game one; they scored four times in the second inning of game two.
Hickory jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the opener on Ronald Guzman's run-scoring single in the top of the second inning. But Savannah scored five runs on four hits in the fourth to take a 5-1 lead. A pair of walks and an error fueled the uprising. David Ledbetter (4-5), who got the start in game one, suffered the loss.
Michael De Leon scored Hickory's final run in the opener, when he singled and eventually scored on a passed ball in the fifth to cut the score to 5-2. The Crawdads had the tying run at the plate in the sixth with two outs, but Sand Gnats closer Akeel Morris got De Leon on a harmless ground ball to first to end the inning.
'Gnats starting pitcher Ricky Knapp (5-6) earned the win after holding Hickory to two runs, one earned, on six hits, and six strikeouts over 5.1 innings. Ledbetter, who suffered the loss, gave up five runs on five hits, with three walks, and five strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Morris picked up his 11th save of the season with 1.2 scoreless innings in relief.
In game two, the 'Gnats took an early lead and never look back. Savannah roughed up Crawdads starting pitcher Angelo Leclerc (2-3) in the second for four runs on three hits for a 4-0 lead. Coile Wiper came on in relief in the fourth and coughed up three earned runs on four hits for a 7-0 advantage.
Savannah capped off the scoring with three more walks and a run-scoring ground ball in the fifth.
The 'Dads offense was held to six singles in the nightcap. Nomar Mazara was 2-3 in game two; he was 3-6 with a walk on the night. Ronald Guzman was 2-5 with a walk in the double-header loss; De Leon was 2-7 and scored a run.
Sand Gnats starter Robert Gsellman (9-5) finished tossed his fourth complete game of the season. The right-hander shutout Hickory on six hits, a walk, and five strikeouts. Leclerc took the loss, giving up four runs, three earned, on three hits, with three walks, and three strikeouts in just 2.1 innings.
The Crawdads will aim their sights on a four-game series split Sunday afternoon beginning at 2:05 p.m.
Battle of the Bags: The Crawdads 3rd Annual Battle of the Bags cornhole tournament is scheduled for Thursday, August 14th! Make sure to sign up before hand for a $30 registration fee that includes a ticket to the 'Dads game vs. the Shorebirds and a FREE T-shirt! The winning team takes home $200! Don't miss out! MORE
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
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