Nomar Mazara has been one of Hickory's most consisitent players this season, especially when the game's been on the line.
Such was the case Monday night as Mazara delivered once again in the clutch. His solo home run in the bottom of the eighth gave the Crawdads a 3-2 win against the Delmarva Shorebirds at L.P. Frans Stadium. The win also keeps Hickory in the race for a division championship.
The Crawdads (63-44 overall; 22-16, second half of the South Atlantic League season) trail first-place Greensboro by just two games in the Northern Division of the SAL. The Grasshoppers dropped a 7-3 decision at Augusta Monday night.
The go-ahead blast by Mazara was his 19th of the year and his fourth home run in his last five games. It also leaves him just one behind teammate Travis Demeritte for the SAL lead.
And Mazara has been on a tear over the last two months. He's posted a slash line of .304/.404/.588 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 14 homers and 51 RBI in 51 games played since June 1st.
The 'Dads spotted the Shorebirds (55-52; 17-21) a 2-0 lead. Delmarva scored both of its runs in the second inning as the first four hitters all reached against Hickory starting pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez.
Conor Bierfeldt drove in the first run on an RBI double before DH Chance Sisco came in to score on a wild pitch.
Hickory finally got on board in the bottom of the sixth. Kellin Deglan roped a RBI double off of Delmarva starter Steven Brault to cut the deficit to 2-1; the 'Dads tied things up with another run in the seventh.
This time Demeritte leaded off the inning with a double before scoring two batters later on a RBI single by Luis Marte off of Shorebirds reliever Dylan Rheault to tie the game at 2-2.
That set the stage for Mazara, who crushed a 1-0 pitch off the scoreboard in right-center field in the eighth to give Hickory its first lead of the night at 3-2. Crawdads closer Jose Valdespina shut the door from there, tossing a perfect ninth inning to record win and his third save of the season.
'Dads pitcher Cole Wiper (7-8) got the win in his first relief outing of the year. The right-hander tossed two shutout innings, scattered two hits with a strikeout. Mazara, Deglan and Demeritte all had multi-hit games for the Crawdads.
Deglan was 2-4 with a double and an RBI; Demeritte went 2-3 with a double, a run scored, and a stolen base. The Crawdads (22-16) have now won six of their last seven games and remain perfect against the Shorebirds (17-21) this season with a 6-0 record. The 'Dads will go for the four game sweep in the final game of the home stand tonight at 7:00 p.m.
Social Media Night: The Crawdads wrap up their 7-game home stand with Social Media Night on Tuesday! Fans can register to win SIX different sets of FOUR VIP tickets at the game by showing proof of following the 'Dads on Facebook and/or Twitter! Follow us now and make sure to register at the Dale Earnhardt Customer Care Booth tomorrow for your chance to win! FACEBOOK TWITTER
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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Photo Courtesy: Nomar Mazara, Hickory Crawdads