The Hickory Crawdads received another stellar pitching performance Thursday night as pitchers David Ledbetter, Cole Wiper, and Jose Valdespina shut down the Greensboro Grasshoppers offense at bay in
a 4-1 win at L.P. Frans Stadium.
One night after Crawdads pitchers Luis Ortiz and Tyler Smith narrowly missed out on a combined no-hitter against Kannapolis, the 'Dads once again turned to their pitching staff to lead the way. The pitching trio of Ledbetter, Cole, and Valdespina held the Grasshoppers to just one run on four hits.
In turn, the Crawdads (68-48 overall; 27-20, second half of the South Atlantic League season) pushed across three runs in the late innings to pull away. The win also leaves Hickory just two games behind Greensboro (73-44; 29-18) for first place in the SAL's Northern Division.
Hagerstown pulled into a first-place tie with the Grasshoppers, thanks to an 8-1 win against Kannapolis Thursdasy night.
Hickory jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, when Michael De Leon doubled off the left field wall in the first inning. He later scored on Joe Jackson's two-out, RBI single. It remained that way until the sixth inning, when Greensboro finally broke through to tie the game.
Carlos Lopez had an RBI single that made it, 1-1. Ledbetter (5-5) had retired 11 in a row before the Grasshoppers scored. But the 'Dads rallied in the bottom of the sixth.
A two-out, run-scoring single by Zach Cone plated Evan Van Hoosier with the eventual winning run. Leading 2-1, the Crawdads added to their lead with single runs in the next two innings.
Travis Demeritte lined a solo home run to right center field in the seventh; he had an RBI single in the eighth to give Hickory its 4-1 lead.
The Crawdads bullpen finished it off from there, with Wiper tossing two perfect frames before Valdespina closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Ledbetter earned the win with one run allowed on four hits, and three strikeouts over six innings. pitched. Valdespina picked up his fourth save of the year.
Demeritte ended the night 2-4 with his SAL-leading 24th homer of the year and two RBI. Jackson also had a multi-hit game going 2-4 with a RBI and a run scored. De Leon was 1-2 with a double, two walks, and a run scored.
The Crawdads take on the Grasshoppers Friday night in game two of their four-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Crawdads @ Home: The 'Dads are home for the next three days at L.P. Frans Stadium, with great promotions in 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!