The Hickory Crawdads used two big innings highlighted by two big home runs to mash their way to a 9-6 win over the visiting Charleston RiverDogs Monday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The hot-hitting Hickory offense broke open a low scoring affair with three runs in the 5th inning followed by five more tallies in the 6th, with Nomar Mazara's 3-run shot and Joe Jackson's 2-run blast pacing their respective rallies. The big middle innings helped the Crawdads withstand a barrage of homers from the RiverDogs, who hit four total long balls before falling short in their comeback attempt.
The nine run, nine hit display gave the 'Dads their fifth win over the last six games, while also pushing the team to two games over .500 for the first time since April 11th. The Crawdads bats are averaging nearly seven runs per game during that stretch with six total home runs.
The first four frames of the game were played to a 1-1 tie, with the RiverDogs scoring one in the top of the 3rd on a solo homer by Gosuke Katoh before the Crawdads answered with a run in the bottom of the frame on a RBI single by Jackson.
The 'Dogs re-took the lead with a solo long ball by Eduardo De Oleo in the top of the 5th, but Mazara's three-run shot in the bottom half of the inning gave the 'Dads a 4-2 lead they would never give up. Hickory followed up the big 5th frame with their five-run 6th, consisting of 10 total batters, four doubles, three walks, and one home run. Nick Vickerson brought home the first two base runners with a 2-RBI double, before Lewis Brinson doubled him home for the inning's third tally. Jackson capped off the frame with a line drive, 2-run blast to right for a 9-2 'Dads advantage.
The RiverDogs would get a two-run dinger by Aaron Judge in the 8th and a two-run long ball from De Oleo in the 9th to narrow the score to 9-6, before Hickory reliever Felix Carvallo got Michael O'Neill to fly out to center to end the game.
Jackson ended the night 2-5 with a homer and three total RBI, while Mazara went 1-3 with a big fly with three RBI. Vickerson also posted a good game, finishing 2-4 with a double, two RBI, and three runs scored.
All the offense overshadowed one of the best starts of the year by Crawdads pitcher Cole Wiper (4-6), who earned the win after holding Charleston to two runs on three hits over his six innings pitched while striking out a season-high nine batters. RiverDogs starter Brady Lail (7-2) took a rare loss after allowing four runs on four hits during his five innings pitched.
The Crawdads (29-27) and RiverDogs (27-30) will play again Tuesday night in game two of their three game series, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 pm.