Talk about a diamond in the rough. Luis Ortiz, who joined the Hickory Crawdads pitchers on Wednesday, had a marvelous debut with his new team, Ortiz teamed up with Tyler Smith, and that duo handcuffed Kannapolis in a 2-1 Hickory (67-48 overall; 26-20, second half of the South Atlantic League season) win at CMC-Northeast
Stadium. Ortiz Smith simply dominated the Intimidators. That duo took a combined no-hitter into the ninth inning before Christian Stringer broke it up with a lead-off single.
Ortiz, a first-round draft choice of the Texas Rangers this season, got the starting nod and tossed three hitless innings. He struck out two and walked one before handing the ball over to Smith in the fourth. Making his first relief appearance since May 11, Smith cruised through the eighth inning allowing just two base runners on a walk and an error.
Trailing 2-0, Stringer produced Kannapolis' (53-60; 24-22) first hit as he pulled a ground ball single just past Hickory second baseman Michael De Leon to lead off the ninth. The Intimidators parlayed that hit into a ninth-inning rally. Jacob Morris lined a two-out, RBI double over Jairo Beras' glove into right field, scoring Stringer and cutting the deficit the to 2-1. But Smith retired Zach Fisher on a ground ball out to preserve the win.
The win leaves Hickory just three games out of first place in the SAL's Northern Division behind first-place Greensboro. The Crawdads begin a weekend series with the Grasshoppers tonight at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Crawdads scored all the runs they needed in the first inning. Joe Jackson roped a RBI double to right before Zach Cone drove in a second run with a sacrifice fly that gave Hickory a 2-0 lead. That was all Ortiz and Smith needed as those two teamed up to by hold Kannapolis to just a run on two hits, tying a season-low for fewest hits allowed.
Smith earned the win after allowing one run on two hits, one walk, with six strikeouts over six innings out of the bullpen.
The Crawdads win the series over the Intimidators two games to one with the victory, and they finish their season series with a 13-11 record against Kannapolis. The 'Dads return home against the first place Grasshoppers tonight for 7:00 p.m. game at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Crawdads @ Home: The 'Dads are home for the next four days at L.P. Frans Stadium, with great promotions in Thirsty Thursday/Shark Week Spectacular (8/7), Fireworks Friday/Superhero Night (8/8), the ZOOperstars (8/9), and Willy Wonka Night/Church Bulletin Sunday (8/10)! Don't miss out! TICKETS
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!
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!