Travis Demeritte and Luis Marte backboned the Hickory Crawdads Tuesday night. Demeritte belted a grand slam in the first inning, Marte had a three-run double in the bottom of the third as the Crawdads (64-44 overall; 23-16, second half of the South Atlantic League season) blasted the Delmarva Shorebirds 10-4 at L.P. Frans
The win completes a four-game sweep, and it leaves the Crawdads just two games behind the Hagerstown Suns in the Northern Division of the SAL. The Suns jumped into sole possession of first place Tuesday night by beating Greenville, 8-4; Greensboro falls a game back after the Grasshoppers dropped an 8-5 decision at Augusta.
The Crawdads, thanks to Demeritte jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and the route was on. Demeritte also hit his SAL-leading 21st home run of the year.
Michael De Leon got things started with a lead-off double just inside the first base bag, Zach Cone singled to right, Nomar Mazara walked, and Kellin Deglan drove in the game's first run with a ground out. One out later, Joe Jackson walked to re-load the bases for Demeritte's two-out blast.
The Shorebirds (55-53; 17-22) picked up a run in the top of the third, but the 'Dads put the game completely out of reach on Marte's three-run double in the bottom of the inning. That two-out blast gave Hickory a commanding 8-1 lead.
Hickory closed out its assault with two more runs in the fourth. An RBI double by Jairo Beras and a sacrifice fly by Jackson made it, 10-1. Delmarva made things respectable by scoring a run in the seventh, and two more times in the eighth off Hickory reliever Collin Wiles.
Anyelo Leclerc came on in the ninth and shut the door. Demeritte ended the night going 1-4 with his grand slam; Marte went 2-4 with a double and three RBI; Beras was 2-4 with a double and an RBI; Cone finished 2-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Hickory reliever Scott Williams (2-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings. He scattered two hits and struck out four. Delmarva starting pitcher Nick Cunningham (1-4) took the loss after giving up 10 runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts in his three innings of work.
With the win, the Crawdads remain perfect against the Shorebirds on the year with a 7-0 record. The 'Dads have an off-day today before they begin a four-game series in Savannah against the SandGnats Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.
Crawdads on the Road: The Crawdads will start a two-city, seven-game road trip on Thursday, with stops in both Savannah and Kannapolis. Make sure to keep up with the team on the road using the LIVE internet broadcast! LISTEN
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: Luis Marte, Hickory Crawdads