It may have taken a while to get started, but the surging Hickory Crawdads offense came up big again Sunday night as the 'Dads scored seven runs from the 6th inning on in a 7-2 win over the Greenville Drive at Fluor Field.
The Crawdads began the game with five promising but ultimately empty innings against starting pitcher Daniel McGrath and the Drive, before coming alive with three runs in the 6th, one in the 7th & 8th, and two more in the 9th. The 'Dads finished the game with 12 hits and eight walks, allowing all nine starters to reach safely while eight of the nine had at least one hit.
Nomar Mazara led the late arriving attack with a 3-5 game including a double, RBI, and run scored, while Joe Jackson finished with his third straight multi-hit game going 2-4, with a double, walk, and run scored. Lewis Brinson (2-4, BB, 2 R) also had a multi-hit night, while Travis Demeritte hit a home run for the third straight game to take over sole possession of the South Atlantic League home run lead with 12 on the season.
The 'Dads had no shortage of base runners during the first five frames, but couldn't come through with the big hit. The Crawdads got runners into scoring position in four of the first five innings, but ultimately left eight men on base. During that time, Greenville was able to put together a 2-0 lead thanks to an unearned run in the 2nd and a RBI double by Jantzen Witte in the 3rd.
That lead held until Hickory finally broke through for three runs in the 6th to take a 3-2 advantage, with Evan Van Hoosier delivering a bases loaded, 2-RBI single to tie the game before Janluis Castro scored on an error for the third run.
The 7th inning tally came on a double by Mazara and a RBI sacrifice fly from Ronald Guzman, while the Crawdads run in the 8th was a result of a RBI single by Mazara to score Jackson for a 5-2 Hickory lead. The 'Dads plated their final two runs in the 9th on a two-run homer to left by Demeritte for the final 7-2 score.
The late innings rally made a winner out of Crawdads starting pitcher Tyler Smith (2-1) who held the Drive to two runs, one earned, on three hits over his five innings pitched. Greenville reliever Myles Smith (1-4) took the loss after giving up four runs, three earned, on five hits during his 2.1 innings. Hickory relievers Anyelo Leclerc and Josh McElwee combined to throw four shutout innings from the bullpen with nine strikeouts.
The victory gives the Crawdads (28-27) the series win over the Drive (27-28) while moving the team above .500 for the first time since May 3rd. The 'Dads have either won or tied their last five consecutive series. The Crawdads will now return home for a 7-game home stand, beginning Monday night with a 7:00 pm first pitch against the Charleston RiverDogs.