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Wednesday, 11 June 2014 07:08

Crawdads Win 11th Straight

Crawdads set new franchise record with 11th straight win Crawdads set new franchise record with 11th straight win

The Hickory Crawdads broke their franchise record with their 11th straight win Tuesday night, turning what looked like an easy victory into a come from behind 11-9 win over the Delmarva Shorebirds at Arthur W. Purdue Stadium.

The 'Dads built an 8-0 lead over the first four innings off of Catawba native and Shorebirds ace Hunter Harvey, only to watch the lead disappear into a 9-8 deficit when Delmarva scored three runs each in the 5th, 6th, and 8th innings. Undeterred, the 'Dads rallied for three runs of their own in the top of the 9th off of Shorebirds All-Star closer Jimmy Yacabonis for an 11-9 lead they would hold on to for their record-setting 11th consecutive win.

The victory breaks a tie with the 2007 Crawdads, who won 10 straight games from July 17 - 26th. The 'Dads are now 23-8 over the last month, having won or split each of their last nine straight series dating back to May 10 -13th.

The early Hickory advantage came on one run in the 1st, three in the 2nd and 3rd, and one more in the 4th for an 8-0 lead. Harvey was voted in as the Northern Division Starting Pitcher in next week's South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory, but the right-handed hurler struggled with his command while allowing a season-high seven runs, six earned, on five hits, four walks, and two strikeouts over two innings pitched.

The Crawdads rallied with two outs in both of the first two innings against Harvey, with Nomar Mazara plating the first run on a 2-out, RBI double to right for a 1-0 lead. The 2nd frame saw Kellin Degaln kick start the offense with a two-out walk, followed by consecutive singles from Luis Marte and Evan Van Hooiser along with a wild pitch by Harvey to score Deglan. Michael De Leon then brought in both Marte and Van Hoosier with a 2-RBI single up the middle for a 4-0 'Dads advantage.

The lead grew to 7-0 with three more runs in the third, as Harvey walked the first three batters of the frame on 12 straight balls before being lifted for right-handed reliever Dylan Rheault. Rheault's command was no better however, as the 6'9" hurler issued four wild pitches while walking two batters of his own to help the 'Dads score their three runs.

Hickory's lead grew to its largest at 8-0 after another run in the 4th, this time on a RBI single by Ryan Cordell to score Joe Jackson.

Delmarva began chipping away at the deficit in the 5th with three runs off of Crawdads starting pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez to make the score 8-3. Rehabbing reliever Daniel Bard then entered the game in the 6th and proceeded to walk two batters while hitting another to load the bases with nobody out. 'Dads Manager Corey Ragsdale turned to righty reliever Josh McElwee to escape the inning, a feat he nearly accomplished before allowing a 2-out, 3-RBI triple to Anthony Vega to cut the score to 8-6.

The Shorebirds completed their rally in the 8th when McElwee left the bases loaded for All-Star teammate Cody Kendall, who then gave up a 2-out, 3-RBI triple to Jared Breen to give the 'Birds a 9-8 lead over the 'Dads.

Delmarva then turned to their closer Yacabonis in the 9th, with the right-hander entering the game having not allowed a run all season over 24 innings pitched. Undaunted, the Crawdads struck for back-to-back doubles by Ronald Guzman and Travis Demeritte to quickly tie the score at 9-9. Demeritte would eventually come in to score on a wild pitch while De Leon plated Delgan on a RBI infield single to give the 'Dads their 11-9 lead.

The Shorebirds attempted to mount one last rally in the bottom of the 9th, eventually placing runners at second and third with two outs, but Kendall forced Austin Wynns to fly out to right to end the game and give the 'Dads the historic win.

Five different Crawdads recorded multi-hit games in the victory, led by Mazara who finished 3-4 with a double, RBI, two walks and a run scored. De Leon ended the night 2-5 with 3 RBI, while Demeritte went 1-4 with a double, RBI, run scored, and a walk. The Hickory offense also took advantage of eight wild pitches issued by the Delmarva pitching staff, along with 10 total walks.

Kendall (6-2) earned the win for the 'Dads after losing out on the save, with the reliever going 1.1 scoreless innings out of the pen. Yacabonis (1-1) took his first blown save and loss of the season after allowing three runs on two hits while recording two outs in the 9th.

The Crawdads (37-27) will now go for their third straight series sweep in the finale against the Shorebirds (35-30) Wednesday night at 7:05 pm.

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