The Hickory Crawdads wrapped up their 2014 season with a 5-3 loss to the Delmarva Shorebirds Monday afternoon at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium.
The loss kept the Crawdads from the series sweep, but the 'Dads still finished with a 3-1 series win over the Shorebirds and a 5-2 record on final road trip of the season. Hickory's final overall record of 80-59 marked the fifth time in franchise history, and the first in their six years as a Rangers affiliate, that the Crawdads reached the 80-win plateau.
The 'Dads jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the third inning. Hickory scored three runs, one earned, thanks to a pair of hits, two walks, a hit batsman, and an error. Nine men batted in the inning.
Smerling Lantigua and Luis Marte kicked things off with consecutive singles against 'Birds starter Janser Severino. Nick Urbanus reached on a fielding error to load the bases with nobody out. Evan Van Hoosier walked to drive in a run; Zach Cone was hit-by-a-pitch to drive in a run for a 2-0 lead; Jairo Beras grounded out and drove in another run to close out the scoring.
Delmarva began chipping away from there. The Shorebirds scored single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to tie the game. The Shorebirds capped off their comeback with a pair of runs in the seventh.
Anthony Vega led off with a single, and he stole second base. Oswill Lartiguez collected his first RBI as a Shorebird with a single into center field, scoring Vega. Lartiguez later scored on an RBI double by Jared Breen, who finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs on the day.
And Delmarva's bullpen made the lead stand up. Nikolaus Nowottnick (1-0) earned the win with a perfect inning of work in the seventh. Derrick Bleeker earned his first save with five strikeouts over two perfect frames to end the game. Scott Williams (2-1) took the loss, He gave up two runs on four hits in his one-plus innings of work.
Ronald Guzman paced Hickory offensively, going 2-4 with a pair of doubles. Lantigua and Marte finished 1-4 with a run scored. The Crawdads finish the second half of the South Atlantic League season with a 39-31 record, in third place, and four games behind the Northern Division champions, the Hagerstown Suns. Overall, the Crawdads finished third in the Northern Division, 6 1/2 games off the lead.
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