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Sunday, 08 June 2014 22:10

Crawdads Walk Off Again, Win Eighth Straight

Lewis Brinson's stat line in reaching base four times, 0-1, 3 BB, HBP Lewis Brinson's stat line in reaching base four times, 0-1, 3 BB, HBP Hickory Crawdads

The Hickory Crawdads won their 8th straight ballgame with their third walk-off hit of the home stand Saturday night, as Nomar Mazara doubled home Lewis Brinson in the 9th for an 8-7 win over the West Virginia Power at L.P. Frans Stadium.

In front of 3,313 fans, the Crawdads lost two separate leads of 5-0 and 7-5 to send the game to the bottom of the 9th tied at 7-7. Leadoff batter Evan Van Hoosier reached on a walk to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but was thrown out trying to steal third. Brinson kept the rally going when he was hit by a pitch, bringing Mazara to the plate with two outs. Mazara then lined a ball off the top of the right-center field wall to send Brinson flying around the bases, ultimately ending with Brinson sliding just ahead of the tag at home to give the 'Dads their 8-7 win.

Prior to the late inning chaos, the Crawdads built an early 5-0 lead off of Power starting pitcher Cody Dickson with a run in the 1st, two in the 3rd, and two in the 4th. Van Hoosier kick started the night with a leadoff solo home run to left for a quick 1-0 score. The 'Dads plated two more in the 3rd on a walk to Van Hoosier, a double by Michael De Leon, and a costly throwing error by Dickson. The 4th inning tallies came via a 2-RBI double by Janluis Castro, marking his first extra base hit and RBIs in Hickory.

West Virginia took their first bite out of the Crawdads lead with a run in the 5th, before exploding for four runs on just one hit, four walks, and a hit batter in the 6th to tie the score at 5-5. Rehabbing right-hander Daniel Bard struggled for his second straight outing, with the former Tar Heel and Red Sox reliever allowing four runs on four walks and a hit batsman while recording two outs in the frame.

The deadlocked score didn't last long however, as Ronald Guzman and Travis Demeritte crushed back-to-back solo homers in the bottom of the 6th to shoot the Crawdads back on top 7-5. Guzman's line drive over the center field wall marked his third homer of the season, while Demeritte's monster shot to left-center on the very next pitch pushed his South Atlantic League leading total to 14.

Refusing to quite, the Power scrapped across one run in the 8th on a 2-out, RBI double off of 'Dads reliever Josh McElwee, before once again tying the score with a 2-out, RBI single against Hickory All-Star closer Cody Kendall in the 9th.

Kendall (5-2) earned the win after blowing the save thanks to the Crawdads comeback, with the right-hander allowing one run on three hits and two strikeouts over his one inning pitched. West Virginia reliever Yhonathan Barrios (2-4) took the loss for allowing the game-ending run in the 9th after pitching a scoreless 8th.

Brinson finished the game 0-1, but reached base safely four times with three walks and the pivotal hit-by-pitch in the 9th. Mazara went 1-5 with the game-winning RBI double, Demeritte finished 2-4 with a homer and a double, Guzman ended the night 1-3 with a big fly and a walk, while Van Hoosier had a 1-2 game with a home run, three walks, and two runs scored.

The Crawdads (34-27) will go for their 9th straight victory and second consecutive series sweep in the fourth and final game against the Power (20-41) on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:00 pm.

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