The Hickory Crawdads found yet another way to win Thursday night, as the 'Dads went to extra innings but ultimately extended their winning streak to six games when Joe Jackson drove in the winning run in the 12th for a 7-6 victory over the West Virginia Power.
Jackson not only kept the Hickory winning streak going with his extra frame single, but his own hitting streak as well. Jackson's game winning RBI knock to right pushed his hit streak to 10 straight games, tying the longest streak by a Crawdad this season. The 'Dads 12-inning contest also tied the team's high for this year, joining their April 16th contest against Kannapolis.
The extra inning heroics were necessary because the Crawdads were unable to hold on to a 6-2 lead over the Power in the 8th. Rehabbing reliever Daniel Bard made his debut with the 'Dads, but struggled in his first game action since off-season shoulder surgery. The former North Carolina Tar Heel and Boston Red Sox reliever failed to retire a batter while hitting three men, walking one, and ultimately allowing three runs to cut the score to 6-5.
Hickory turned to All-Star reliever Cody Kendall to try to end the game in regulation, but after getting all three outs in the 8th Kendall couldn't get the final one in the 9th as the Power scored the tying run on a 2-out, bloop single to left for a 7-7 tie.
Both clubs had opportunities early in the extra frames but the game eventually moved to the 12th, when Evan Van Hoosier drew his fourth walk of the night to start the rally. After moving into scoring position at second base on a sacrifice bunt by Michael De Leon, Van Hoosier came around to score the winning run on Jackson's RBI single past the glove of West Virginia first baseman Edwin Espinal for the 'Dads 7-6 victory.
Prior to the late drama, the Crawdads built a sizable early advantage with two runs in the 1st, one in the 2nd, and three in the 3rd to take a 6-2 lead. The 'Dads plated their first two tallies on a RBI sacrifice fly to center by Jackson and throwing error by Power All-Star catcher Reese McGuire to score De Leon and give Hickory a 2-0 lead.
Following a pair of runs by West Virginia in the top of the 2nd to tie the score, the 'Dads answered in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run to right by Kellin Deglan for a 3-2 advantage. The lead grew to its largest point in the third, when Nomar Mazara lofted a 3-run blast to right for a 6-2 score.
Mazara ended the game 2-5 with his eight home run of the season, three RBI, and a double. Jackson finished 1-5 with 2 RBI, Van Hooiser went 0-2 with four walks and three runs scored, and Deglan wound up 1-4 with a long ball and a walk.
The winning pitcher for the Crawdads was left-handed reliever Ryne Slack (5-1) who tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts as the 'Dads sixth pitcher of the ballgame. Power hurler Henry Hirsch (0-3) took the loss after allowing the run in the 12th.
The Crawdads (32-27) are now a season-high five games over .500, while the Power (20-39) have lost five straight. The two clubs will meet up again Friday night at 7:00 pm in game two of their four game series.