A stellar pitching performance and some timely hitting by Luis Marte, Hickory's ninth-place hitter, handed the Crawdads a 2-1 win at Augusta Tuesday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium.
Marte entered the game with five extra base hits---all doubles---for the season, but the Crawdads third baseman came through with a RBI double in the third and a solo home run in the fifth for the only Hickory (73-54 overall; 32-26, second half of the South Atlantic League season) runs of the night. And that proved to be just enough to support the pitching trio of Collin Wiles, Angelo Leclerc, and Jose Valdespina, who combined held the GreenJackets (58-68; 24-34) to one run on six hits with nine strikeouts.
The win leaves Hickory five games behind Hagerstown for first place in the SAL's Northern Division. They trail Greensboro by 5 1/2 games in the wildcard race.
Marte's third inning RBI double scored Travis Demeritte all the way from first base on a hit-and-run play that gave Hickory a 1-0 lead. The 'Jackets responded with their lone run of the night in the bottom of the third. Cristian Paulino doubled, Randy Ortiz sacrificed him to third, and Paulino scored on Ryan Jones' ground ball out to tie the game.
The tie lasted until the top of the fifth when Marte led off the frame with his first home run of the year, a solo blast to left field to put the 'Dads back ahead 2-1. Wiles and the Crawdads bullpen took over from there, with six combined scoreless frames to end the game.
Wiles (2-2) earned the win after holding the GreenJackets to one run on four hits, with a walk, and four strikeouts over a season-high six innings. 'Jackets starter Luis Ysla (6-7) took the loss after allowing two runs on five hits, with four walks, and four strikeouts over 5.1 innings. Valdespina picked up his sixth save of the year with a perfect ninth inning.
Marte was 2-4 on the night with a double, a home run, and two RBI. Kevin Torres reached base safely three times with a single, a walk, and he was hit-by-pitch; Jairo Beras went 1-3 with a walk.
The Crawdads and GreenJackets face off again in game two of their three-game series tonight at 7:00 p.m.
Boy Scout Night: Limited space is still available for the Crawdads LAST Boy Scout Night on Friday, August 22nd! Bring your Boy Scout troop out for a night of baseball followed by a post-game movie and camping under the stars on the field of L.P. Frans Stadium! For more information or to reserve your spot, email Crawdads Group Sales Associate Zach Miller, or call (828) 322-3000!
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!