Crawdads score 4 unearned runs on 3 Asheville miscues
By Aaron Cox
Hickory, NC - The Hickory Crawdads hit the road Thursday night looking for a fresh start after a tough home stand and were able to get just that, with the 'Dads taking advantage of three Asheville Tourists errors to score four unearned runs in a 6-1 win at McCormick Field.
The Asheville errors proved to be exactly what the struggling Crawdads offense needed, as the 'Dads struck for a run in the 3rd, an unearned run in the 5th, two more unearned runs in the 6th and both an earned and unearned tally in the 8th to construct their 5-run victory. The six run outburst were the most runs scored by the Crawdads since their 6-5, 10-inning triumph over the same Tourists at L.P. Frans Stadium a week prior.
The scoring started in the third, when the 'Dads combined four singles to plate one run and take a 1-0 lead. Nomar Mazara came through with the big hit in the frame, with the right fielder grounding a ball through the right side of the infield to plate Nick Urbanus. The lead wouldn't last long though, as Asheville responded in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run to right by third baseman Ryan McMahon to tie the score at 1-1. The homer was McMahon's South Atlantic League leading 6th round tripper of the season.
From that point on the 'Dads bats would take advantage of the extra help given by Asheville, while the Tourists hitters would continuously threaten but never score again. The Crawdads broke the tie in the 5th when Kellin Deglan reached on an error by Tourists first baseman Correlle Prime and came in two batters later on an RBI single from Travis Demeritte to make the score 2-1.
The lead swelled to 4-1 the next inning, when an error by second baseman Michael Benjamin allowed Kevin Torres to reach safely and Lewis Brinson to score all the way from first. Torres scored one batter later when Jairo Beras singled to right.
The 'Dads wrapped up the scoring with two more runs in the 8th for the final 6-1 mark. Nick Vickerson walked to start the frame and scored two batters later on an RBI single to center by Torres. Torres would eventually come in himself on the fourth and final miscue by Asheville, this time a throwing error by Benjamin.
On the pitching side of things, Crawdads starter David Ledbetter (1-0) earned his first win of the season after holding the Tourists to one run on six hits, one walk and four strikeouts over a season high five innings pitched. Reliever Ricardo Rodriguez took in from there, with the righty going the rest of the way with four shutout innings to pick up his first save of the season. Asheville starter Devin Burke (0-1) was the loser after allowing three runs, one earned, on five hits, one walk and three strikeouts over 5.2 IP.
The win pushed the Crawdads record to 7-8, including a 5-3 mark away from home. Asheville fell to 8-7 with the loss. The two clubs will match up again on Friday at 7:05 pm for game two of the three game series.